María Felicity Baseggio
Augustinian Servant of God
María Felicity Baseggio (1752-1829) was first an artist, then a Franciscan Sister, and later an Augustinian Sister. She was a woman of deep prayer who received many spiritual gifts.
Ana Clara Juana Baseggio was born in Ferrara, Italy in 1752. There were many artists in her family: her father, José, and her brothers, Santos and Anthony, were sculptors and her uncle, Máximo, was a painter. When she was ten years old, Ana Clara began training in the art of gilding.
Because of the nature of her work, Ana Clara, as a young woman, lived in many different Italian cities. During this time, an awareness of her calling to the religious life was growing.
In spite of the strong objections of her brother Santos, she entered the Franciscan Tertiaries at their convent of Le Muneghete, taking the religious name María Felicity Fortunata. She grew rapidly in her life of contemplation. She had the gift of seeing into the future. Once, while at prayer in the Cathedral of Rovigo, the mark of the Cross of Christ was impressed upon her chest.
The story is told that on one occasion the grain which María Felicity's community was storing for its food spoiled and became infested with moths. Obedient to her superior, María Felicity prayed. The grain miraculously returned to its previous good condition and a flood of butterflies appeared where the grain was being stored.
A Napoleonic decree of June 8, 1805 suppressed many religious houses, including the Franciscan convent of María Felicity. She then joined a group of Augustinian hermits. But this Augustinian monastery was also suppressed in 1810.
María Felicity lived for a time with her brother Santos. Later, she moved to a small rented room where she could devote time to prayer. She had frequent visions of the Baby Jesus, whom she called Bámbolo. People of the surrounding area became aware of her deep spiritual life.
She died February 11, 1829 while a guest at the home of her nephews in Rovigo. Her funeral occasioned an outpouring of grief in that city. She was first buried in a local cemetery. Her body was moved twice and is now at the Cathedral of Rovigo.
As the initial step of the cause for her beatification and canonization, a diocesan investigation began in 1995. The Roman Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized the validity of her cause in 2008. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, oversees the progress of the cause.