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Saint of the Day - Saint Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello (March 21)

Saint Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello was raised in a family where she received devout training in her rich Catholic Faith. She was married and lived with her husband as husband and wife for two years before taking a joint vow of chastity with her husband. They would both join religious orders before she was called to be a teacher and her husband was pulled out of seminary to work with her in setting up the schools. Join me as we look into the life of Saint Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello.

Saint Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello was born October 2, 1791 in Langasco in Genoa Italy. She was the sixth of six children born to Giuseppe Cambiagio and Francesca Ghiglione. During her childhood and adolescence, the region of Genoa was subject to significant political discord, chaos and upheaval. As a result, her family moved and settled in Pavia, a small town in Lombardy in northern Italy. The family settled in Pavia in 1804.

Seven years later, in 1811, Saint Benedicta had a spiritual experience that led her to know that she w2anted to live a life of penance and mortification. However, out of obedience to her parents, she married Giovanni Battista Frassinello in the Basilica of San Michele on February 7, 1816. Giovanni was a farmer and a carpenter.

For two years, they lived together as husband and wife. After two years of marriage, they decided to live a celibate life together like brother and sister. This was because Giovanni was totally impressed with Saint Benedicta's holiness and her desire to live a religious life.

At some point, the couple took in Saint Benedicta's sister, Maria, as she suffered from intestinal cancer. Maria had been left by her husband. They cared for Maria until her death in July of 1825.

Giovanni joined the Somaschi Fathers founded by Saint Jerome Emiliani (feast day February 8). Saint Benedicta joined the Ursulines of Capriolo. However, she was sent home after a year due to bad health. She returned to Pavia and prayed for the intercession of St. Jerome Emiliani for an improvement to her health. Her prayers were answered, and she went to the Bishop of Pavia, Luigi Tosi, and sought permission to dedicate herself to the education for young girls. Bishop Tosi asked Giovanni to leave the seminary of the Somaschi Fathers to work alongside Saint Benedicta.

The couple made a vow to remain chaste in front of Bishop Tosi, and the pair set off on their mission of the formation of the human condition and religious of formation to the youngest of the abandoned caste of society - the poor and underprivileged. Their work was of such importance to Pavia that a school was opened in 1827. Saint Benedicta's work was of such local importance that the Austrian government recognized Saint Benedicta as a "Promoter of Public Education".

Despite their vows of chastity, people still talked about Saint Benedicta and Giovanni. Accordingly, she turned the school and her assets over to the Bishop of Pavia and moved to another city where she again started as new school in Ronco Scrivia in the Genoa region of Italy.

On October 28, 1838, Saint Benedicta founded a new order, Benedictine Sisters of Providence. Saint Benedicta was able to guide the formation of the new order until she died on March 21, 1858. Her remains were lost due to Allied bombings of Ronco Scrivia in 1944.

Saint Benedicta was declared to be Venerable on July 6, 1985 by Pope Saint John Paul II. She was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on May 10, 1987. Saint Benedicta was canonized on May 19, 2002 at ?Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City.



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