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Mother Pierina of the Holy Face of Christ to Be Beatified

By Mariaelena Finessi
5/29/2010 (7 years ago)
Zenit News Agency (

She was loved because she helped everyone who approached her -- from priests to families, from young people to the neediest

Mother Pierina (1890-1945), a mystic, dedicated her life to spreading devotion to the face of Christ and, at the same time, to the fight against Satan. This was discovered in her personal diary, found by the sisters in the cell of the convent after her death.

Mother Pierina (1890-1945), a mystic.

Mother Pierina (1890-1945), a mystic.


By Mariaelena Finessi
Zenit News Agency (
5/29/2010 (7 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

P>ROME ( - This Sunday the Basilica of St. Mary Major will be the site of the first beatification ever held within its walls -- that of a woman religious from Milan, Pierina de Micheli.

Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, will celebrate the ceremony, in representation of Benedict XVI.

"It is the first time that a beatification takes place in this basilica," said an emotional Sister Nora Antonelli, superior general of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception of Buenos Aires, the community to which Pierina belonged. "We are delighted that our request was accepted."
Mother Pierina (1890-1945), a mystic, dedicated her life to spreading devotion to the face of Christ and, at the same time, to the fight against Satan. This was discovered in her personal diary, found by the sisters in the cell of the convent after her death.
Father Fabrizio Poloni, episcopal delegate for Saints' Causes of the Diocese of Novara, said that when Pierina was an adolescent she had supernatural experiences. For example, when she was only a child, she thought she heard Jesus' voice saying to her, "Is no one going to give me a kiss of love on the face to repair Judas' kiss?"
The little girl promised to give him that kiss: Then came her suffering over her religious vocation, to the point that -- as biographers Mariella Scatena and Piersandro Vazan recall -- the young girl prayed also to the Virgin of Graces "because 'she did not want the vocation, what is more, she had made a novena to lose it.'"
However, Mother Pierina would eventually spread devotion to the image of Christ's face. She had it struck in a medal, popular especially in Latin America where her religions congregation is present.

The same year Pierina had the medal made, 1938, photographer Giovanni Bruner made an artistic photograph of the holy Shroud, which reflected the same image.


The postulator for Mother Pierina's cause, Andrea Ambrosi, explained how the process leading to her beatification has been difficult. He took up the task of directing her cause in 1995, at the request of the director of the Holy Spirit Institute, which Pierina founded.

The cause had begun in 1962 and been "bogged down," he explained. So he and the director worked together to bring it to completion in March 2009. A few days later, the Pope authorized the recognition of a miracle attributed to Pierina's intercession: A man who had suffered an aneurism and was dying recovered fully after a couple of hours of prayer for Pierina's intercession.

The stalled process was due in large part, Ambrosi explained, to all the changes to protocol for saints' causes.

"Of course the cause had to be adapted to the changes," he said. "It was started according to the Code of Canon Law of 1917, then, it followed a much more complex normative. It stopped in 1969 when the reform of the 'Sanctitas Clarior' came into being. I had to leave the previous reforms to follow these new ones and then, in 1983, came the apostolic constitution 'Divinus Perfectionis Magister,' which once again revolutionized the whole process."

In any case, all the necessary approvals have been given and Pierina is set to make history with her beatification in Mary's basilica.

And why not in her native Milan?

Ambrosi classified Pierina as "more Roman than many" Romans.

In addition to founding the Holy Spirit Institute there, dedicated to education, Mother Pierina was also in the Eternal City for the worst period of World War II, which were the last years of her life.

Ambrosi explained, "She was loved because she helped everyone who approached her -- from priests to families, from young people to the neediest."


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