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Giuseppina Vannini: From being an orphan to caring for the sick

Sister Giuseppina Vannini, Founder of the Daughters of Saint Camillus, canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday, October 13, 2019.

By Vatican News

Her childhood name was Giuditta and she was born in Rome in 1859. Both her parents died within three years of one another, and Giuditta and her two siblings were left orphans.

The call

It was at the orphanage run by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de' Paul that she first experienced the call to religious life. In 1891, Giuditta participated in a spiritual retreat where she met Camillian Father Luigi Tezza. A few months earlier, Fr Tezza had been tasked with restoring the Camillian Tertiaries. He asked Giuditta to assist him, and she agreed.

The new institute

Giuditta took the religious name of Sister Giuseppina and soon became Superior General of the new religious Congregation known as the Daughters of Saint Camillus. The new institute needed the definitive approval of the ecclesiastical authority, but Pope Leo XIII refused it twice because he had decided not to allow the foundation of new religious communities. The Congregation did receive official approved, however, in 1909.

The Daughters of Saint Camillus

Mother Giuseppina died in 1911 from heart disease in Rome at the age of 51. By then, the Camillians already had 156 professed religious and 16 religious houses between Europe and America. The main legacy the Foundress left her sisters was the pure and simple physical and spiritual care of the sick, exercised at home as in hospitals, leprosariums and nursing homes, both in European rehabilitation centers, and in mission countries.

Pope Saint John Paul II declared her Blessed on 16 October 1994.

12 October 2019, 13:26