Feast of the day

Feast Of The Day

10/20/2019 12:00:00 AM


        The eighty-one years of this Saint's life were modelled on the Passion of Jesus Christ. In his childhood, when praying in church, a heavy bench fell on his foot, but the boy took no notice of the bleeding wound, and spoke of it as "a rose sent from God." A few years later, the vision of a scourge with "love" written on its lashes assured him that his thirst for penance would be satisfied. In the hope of dying for the faith, he enlisted in a crusade against the Turks; but a voice from the Tabernacle warned him that he was to serve Christ alone, and that he should found a congregation in his honor.

        At the command of his bishop he began while a layman to preach the Passion, and a series of crosses tried the reality of his vocation. All his first companions, save his brother, deserted him; the Sovereign Pontiff refused him an audience; and it was only after a delay of seventeen years that the Papal approbation was obtained, and the first house of the Passionists was opened on Monte Argentario, the spot which Our Lady had pointed out.

        St. Paul chose as the badge of his Order a heart with three nails, in memory of the sufferings of Jesus, but for himself he invented a more secret and durable sign. Moved by the same holy impulse as Blessed Henry Suso, St. Jane Frances, and other Saints, he branded on his side the Holy Name, and its characters were found there after death.

        His heart beat with a supernatural palpitation, which was especially vehement on Fridays, and the heat at times was so intense as to scorch his shirt in the region of his heart. Through fifty years of incessant bodily pain, and amidst all his trials, Paul read the love of Jesus everywhere, and would cry out to the flowers and grass, "Oh! be quiet, be quiet," as if they were reproaching him with ingratitude.

        He died whilst the Passion was being read to him, and so passed with Jesus from the cross to glory.


        Anna Francesca Boscardin was born at Brendola, Veneto in 1888. She lived in fear of her father, a poor, violent and jealous farmer who was often drunk. As a child she could attend school irregularly as she was needed to help at home and in the fields. She showed few talents and was often the target of jokes. She acquired the nickname of "the goose", and all her life this nickname will remain with her both at home and in the convent.

        In 1904 she joined the Sisters of Saint Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Heart at Vicenza, taking the name "Maria Bertilla". She was then sent to Treviso to learn nursing at the municipal hospital there, which was under the direction of her order.

        She began working in a hospital with children suffering from diphtheria. There the young nun seemed to find her true vocation: nursing very ill and disturbed children. Later, when the hospital was taken over by the military in World War I, Sister Maria Bertilla cared for patients amidst the threat of constant air raids and bombings.

        She died in 1922 after suffering for many years from a painful tumor.

        Her reputation for simplicity and devoted, caring hard work had left a deep impression on those who knew her. She was canonized in 1961.