SAINT HYACINTHA OF MARISCOTTI (1585-1640), religious and foundress
Today, the Church honors Saint Hyacintha, a woman who went from a spirit of self-interest and worldliness to a humble servant of God, living the spirit of self-sacrificing love, seeing Christ in the poorest and most unfortunate of God’s children.
Born of a noble family near Viterbo, Italy in 1585, her baptismal name was Clarice. In her early youth, she was renowned for her piety; but as she grew older, she became frivolous and showed a worldly disposition in her personal affairs.
Clarice entered a local convent of sisters who followed the Third Order Rule of Saint Francis of Assisi. At the age of twenty, she received her habit (the style of clothing for the Order) and took the name Hyacintha. However, she supplied herself with enough food, clothing and other goods to live a very comfortable lifestyle amid the other sisters who pledged themselves to self-denial.
A serious illness required that Sister Hyacintha’s confessor bring Holy Communion to her room. Scandalized upon seeing how soft a life she had provided for herself, the confessor advised her to live more humbly.
Sister Hyacintha disposed of her fine clothes and special foods, and eventually became very penitential in both food and clothing; she was also ready to perform the most menial and humbling work in the convent. Sister Hyacintha eventually developed a special devotion to the sufferings of Christ, and, by her penances, she became an inspiration to the other sisters in her religious community. Such was the case during an epidemic that raged in the city of Viterbo, during which she showed heroic charity in nursing the sick.
In time, Sister Hyacintha also became the foundress for two confraternities, whose members were called Oblates of Mary. One of these, similar to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, gathered alms for the convalescent who were poor and were ashamed to beg, and for the care of prisoners. The other confraternity procured homes for the aged.
On January 30, 1640, Sister Hyacintha died of natural causes in Viterbo. At her death, great sorrow was felt in the city and crowds flocked to her funeral. She was canonized a saint on May 14, 1807, by Pope Pius VII.
We commemorate her feastday on January 30.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Holy Women ~ religious)
“Lord God, You kept Saint Hyacintha faithful to Christ’s pattern of poverty and humility. May her prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection You have shown us in Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”