Wednesday, October 20, 2010

St. Camilla Battista da Varano (April 9, 1458 to May 31, 1524)

  "Two angels came to me, dressed in resplendent white garments which I have seen only worn by Jesus. They had wings of gold. One of them took my soul from the right side, the other from the left side, and they elevated it in the air, laying it down near the crucified feet of the Son of God made Man."
        (Camilla Battista da Varano, 1491)

  Nearly 500 years after her death, St. Camilla Battista da Varano, a princess, a member of the Poor Clares, and a prolific writer, was canonized a saint on Oct. 17, 2010. It's an exciting contrast to St. Andre Bessette, also canonized that day, who lived in the 20th century.
   St. Camilla Battista da Varano was born in Camerino, Macerata, Italy, on the Adriatic coast on April 9, 1458. Her father wanted her to have a husband, but she chose to enter the Poor Clares convent in Urbano at age 23.
  The order was founded by St. Clare of Assisi who I first learned about at age 7, when I was taken against my will to see the Franco Zeffirelli film "Brother Sun, Sister Moon." Twenty years later, as a curious skeptic, I visited Assisi, Italy because of the movie and the experience of seeing the robe, sandals, and pillow (rock) of St. Francis, changed my life.
  At age 25, St. Camilla Battista da Varano relocated to the monastery of Santa Maria Nuova in Camerino. Her father and brothers were killed under the persecution of Cesare Borgia in 1502.
  Among her many writings was an autobiography written in 1491 and cited in the quote above. She died in Macerata on May 31, 1524 and her feast day is May 31.

 (The image of St. Camilla Battista da Varano is from Frati Minori di Puglia e Molise)

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