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updated 9:14 AM UTC, Jul 22, 2024

Giovanna Francesca dello Spirito Santo (1888-1984) (N. Prot. 1858)

Fondatrice delle Missionarie del Verbo Incarnato. Luisa Ferrari nasce a Reggio Emilia il 14 settembre 1888. Nel 1907 consegue il diploma per l'insegnamento elementare e nello stesso anno entra a fa parte del Terz'Ordine Francescano. Il 10 dicembre 1929 a reggio Emilia raduna le prime compagne decise ad impegnarsi per la consacrazione in una nuova Congregazione religiosa. L'11 ottobre 1947 la Santa Sede riconosce la nuova Famiglia. Inizia così l'avventura di una donna coraggiosa, missionaria, esperta di umanità, dedita alla Chiesa e al Regno d Dio. Muore a Fiesole (Firenze) il 21 dicembre 1984. L'Inchiesta diocesana è stata celebrata a Fiseolo dal 25 marzo 1992 al 25 marzo 2005. Il decreto di validità giuridica è stato firmato il 22 maggio 2009. La Positio è stata consegnata in Congregazione il 23 ottobre 2013. Il Congresso dei Consultori Teologi nella seduta del 9 novembre 2017 rispondo positivamente al dubbio circa la vita virtuosa della Serva di Dio. La Sessione Ordinaria di Cardinali e Vescovi del 19 febbraio 2019, riconosce che la Serva di Dio ha vissuto eroicamente le virtù. Il 19 marzo 2019 viene messo il Decreto super Virtutibus.




Francesca dello Spirito Santo

Caroline Pauline was born on December 12, 1820 in Mailhac, in the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées, the first child of Antoine Baron and Françoise Rose Justine Granier. Her parents were her first teachers in the faith and while she was still little she was encouraged to explain the catechism. Caroline attended the elementary school of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Narbonne from 1825 to 1830 and then studied with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyon in Saint-Pons. At age twelve she received her first Holy Communion.

After receiving her teaching degree, moved by a religious vocation, on September 24, 1836 Caroline was admitted to the Sisters of St. Joseph. After making her perpetual profession in 1840 she was assigned to teaching at Montpeyroux. Given her great success, in 1847 she was entrusted with the sisters’ most important school in Bédarieux, where she served until 1851. Her successes drew suspicions and calumnies from certain sisters which led to the general council of the Congregation to move Caroline to another province and to transfer her to Mailhac, where she was appointed assistant and then mistress of novices.

In 1856 she was asked to found a school in Lézignan, near Mailhac, located in an old monastery of Poor Clares that had been suppressed during the Revolution. Along the way from the house to the school there was a chapel that had belonged to the Franciscan Third Order, and Caroline began to stop there to pray. It was there that she first met and began to live a Franciscan spirituality and began to practice the Way of the Cross with greater intensity.

Dividing her time and work between the novitiate in Mailhac and the school in Lézignan, the Servant of God attracted the appreciation of students and families alike, as well as the esteem of the clergy for her effective assistance in the formation of boys. She was a complete success, praised at both the pedagogical and religious levels, but stirring up jealousies at the same time for the novelty of an apostolate that worked with boys.

The situation became so difficult and painful that the Servant of God felt the need to speak with the bishop, Charles-Thomas Thibault. As the ecclesiastical superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph, he asked her to remain in the habit but to leave the sisters and to stay with family until he could give her further instructions. Then, in May 1859 the bishop directed her to an institute where she was able to continue her apostolate. During this time Caroline met Fr. Louis Faurie, the pastor of Rayssac-sur-Lampy, a Franciscan tertiary himself who enrolled her in the Franciscan Third Order on October 11, 1860, invested her in the ‘habit of penance’, and gave her the name Frances of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Faurie also introduced Frances to the Jesuit Fr. Clément Cathary, who was about to leave for Madagascar, and to the Franciscan Observant Fr. Léon de Clary. On their advice and with the support of the Capuchin Friars of Toulouse, the Servant of God set herself to founding a new religious congregation.

The institute of the Franciscan Tertiaries of Montpellier received the approval of Bishop Thibault on December 16, 1860. Frances and three sisters were authorized to set up a house in Saint-Chinian beginning on April 3, 1861. On April 4 the cross was enthroned in the garden of the new house and on the next day a school was opened with thirty students. The new Congregation was aggregated to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in 1866.

Frances of the Holy Spirit had been named General Superior by Bishop Thibault in 1861, and was unanimously reelected by subsequent General Chapters. Soon after the Chapter of 1878, however, she began to show signs of illness and the sisters recommended that she take some time for rest and care in Lamalou-les-bains. Unfortunately, there was no improvement in four years of repeated illness.

On Christmas night in 1882, the Servant of God assisted at Holy Mass and wished to greet all the sisters personally and sing a song with them. In the morning she received the last sacraments and then passed away on December 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents, at two o’clock in the morning.