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Guastallines

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Luigia Torelli, Countess of Guastalla (b. about 1500; d. 29 Oct., 1559 or 1569), widowed for the second time when she was twenty-five, resolved to devote her life to the service of God. The Principality of Guastalla, which she had inherited from her father, was laid claim to by another branch of the family, and the affair carried before Pope Clement VIII and Emperor Charles V, whereupon she settled the matter by disposing of her estates to Fernando Gonzaga, thereby also increasing her resources for the religious foundations she had in mind. In 1536 she entered the Angelicals, a congregation which she had founded and richly endowed, taking the name in religion of Paola Maria; and later she established or assisted in the establishment of several other religious houses in various parts of Italy. With other Angelicals she accompanied the Barnabites on their missions, working among women, and converting numbers from lives of sin. When Paul III imposed the cloister on the Angelicals, whom their foundress had destined for works of active charity, particularly the care of the sick and orphans, she instituted another community, also at Milan, for whom she built a house between the Roman and the Tosa gate, known as the college of Guastalla. Like the Angelicals, they were under the direction of the Barnabites. The members, known as Daughters of Mary, dedicated themselves to the care of orphans of noble family, eighteen being provided for in the endowment. The orphans, appointed by prominent Milanese, who eventually became administrators of the institute, may remain for twelve years, after which they are free either to return to the world, or remain as religious, receiving in the former event a dowry of 2000 lire ($400). After the death of the foundress, Pope Urban VIII, at the instance of St. Charles Borromeo , enclosed the community. The sisters live as religious, attend choir, have their meals in common, observe definite hours for prayer, silence, and work, but take no solemn vows. Their garb is black, fashioned according to a more secular style than was that of the Angelicals and their veil is folded in a peculiar coronet form; each also wears a gold ring engraved with a hand holding a cross. Their charges dress in blue and are also popularly known as Guastallines.

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