Sainte Lucie Filippini
Fondatrice de l'Institut des Maîtresses pieuses (✝ 1732)
Née en Toscane, elle rejoindra une de ses amies, Rosa Venerini, pour fonder un institut destiné à la formation des jeunes institutrices. Sa vie de dévouement au service de l'Église et d'attention aux autres l'ont fait canoniser en 1930.
À Montefiascone en Toscane, l’an 1732, sainte Lucie Filippini, vierge, qui fonda l’Institut des Maîtresses religieuses pour faire progresser l’éducation chrétienne des jeunes filles et des femmes, surtout les pauvres.
Lucy Filippini V (RM)
Born in Corneto or Tarquinia, Tuscany, Italy, January 13, 1672; died at Montefiascone, Italy, on March 25, 1732; canonized in 1930. Marc'Antonio Cardinal Barbarigo discovered the pedagogical genius of Lucia Filippini, who had been orphaned while still quite young. In her native town of Corneto, he saw young and old gathered about a little girl in the market place, listening to the child as she explained the catechism. He took the little girl with him on the very same day to the episcopal city of Montefiascone, and had her instructed by the Poor Clares.
She joined Blessed Rosa Venerini in training school mistresses at Montefiascone. Although Rose began the work, she died before it matured into the flourishing Italian institute of the Maestre Pie, or Filippine, of which Saint Lucy is venerated as the co-foundress. Lucy devoted the rest of her life to improving the status of women, and founding schools and educational centers for girls and women throughout Italy. In 1707, she was called to Rome by Pope Clement XI to establish the first school of the institute there. Lucy endeared hereself to the people of Rome during her tenure.
In a parchment laid in her grave at the Cathedral of Montefiascone, the saint is lovingly described: "After she had lost both her parents, Cardinal Marc'Antonio Barbarigo of blessed memory took her into his care. He later availed himself of her services in the founding of schools of Christian doctrine for young girls. Active with the greatest ardor for this foundation and its propagation, she fully realized the importance of this work for the glory of God, the saving of souls, and the Christian education of women.
"Her ability and experience made her work flourish and spread to our diocese and to many others. Her endeavors earned her the name of una donna forte--a strong woman. Though she lived wholly for her foundation, she never ceased praying at the feet of the Lord, thus uniting, in admirable fashion, the virtues of Martha and Mary.
"To set her up also as a model of invincible patience, God put her to the severest tests. She died on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1732, at the age of 60, of cancer, in terrible pain, which she endured with supreme patience."
A portrait reveals that she was a very pretty woman (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Schamoni).
- Lucy Filippini
Orphaned when very young. Worked under Blessed Rose Venerini to train schoolmistresses. Founded the Religious Teachers Filippini, a group devoted to the education of young girls. Founded several schools throughout Italy. Called to Rome, Italy by Pope Clement XI in 1707 to establish the first school there. Victim of a number of illnesses and ailments throughout her life.
St. Lucy Filippini
St. Lucy Filippini
There will always be young children to educate, and women, by reason of their maternal nature, are the most gifted "schoolmarms". Teaching-sisters are best fitted to instruct Catholic children, for they can communicate not only secular knowledge but a knowledge and appreciation of things religious.
In 1685 the bishop of Viterbo, Italy, established a diocesan teaching order to instruct young women, especially those from the poorer classes, in book learning and religion. The order's foundress was Blessed Rose Venerini. In those days general education was not available, so the Viterbo foundation really filled a gap. Other bishops became interested in bringing the institute into their own dioceses. One such was the bishop of Montefiascone, near Rome: Cardinal Marcantonio Barbarigo.
Cardinal Barbarigo engaged in long-range planning. He knew a young woman of his diocese, Lucia Filippini, a devout and enthusiastic person, who had shown a genuine interest in helping her pastor teach catechism to children. He sent her to a monastery of women to be educated, but he carefully planned her course of instruction. In 1692, when he thought Lucy ready, he assigned her to the staff of his school at Montefiascone, which had already opened. Barbarigo had meanwhile invited Sister Rose Venerini to spend some time there tutoring his faculty in the principles that she had framed in Viterbo.
Lucy served as Bl. Rose's second-in-command for two years, and theirs was a most profitable association. When Sister Rose had to leave in 1694, Sister Lucia was named head of the school.
Lucia was an admirable director of the academy. Though highly talented, she was modest, charitable, and able to pass on to others her own spiritual convictions. She was also courageous in the face of obstacles, had a very practical gift of common sense, and a winning personality. Soon she was called on to start new schools elsewhere.
In 1704, the Montefiascone community of teachers was set up as a religious congregation independent of that founded by Bl. Rose. As Rose's group bore the name "Maestre Pie Venerini" ("Venerini Religious Teachers"), so Lucy's took the name "Maestre Pie Filippini." Two years later, on the death of Cardinal Marcantonio Barbarigo, Pope Clement IX, intensely interested in Sister Lucy's enterprise, directed the M.P.F. to move their headquarters to Rome.
When the Filippini sisters opened their first school in the Eternal City, the schoolhouse proved too small to accommodate the great number of applicants. Thereafter, the institute spread, as the centuries passed, throughout Italy, and into Switzerland, England, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. In non-Italian countries the sisters usually established schools and centers among Italian immigrants. Today they have 146 houses worldwide, and number over 1000 members. They were introduced into the United States in 1910, and at present have two provinces, with a total membership of over 360. One of their foundations was in the Rochester Diocese: a catechetical center established at Watkins Glen in 1936.
Unfortunately the physical stamina of the nun whom the Romans called "la Maestra santa" ("the holy schoolmarm") was not as great as her zeal. In 1726 she fell seriously ill, and no remedy seemed to help. On March 25, 1732, the exact day she had predicted, this gracious woman passed to her reward.
The Church eventually confirmed the popular judgment of Sister Lucy's holiness. Pope Pius XI declared her blessed in 1926, and canonized her in 1930.
--Father Robert F. McNamara
The Life of St. Lucy Filippini
Lucy Filippini was born on January 13, 1672 in Corneto-Tarquinia - a city that existed centuries before Rome was built. She had not yet reached her first birthday when her mother died and was buried in the Church of San Marco. Her father, whom she loved dearly, also died six years later and was buried in the Church of Santa Margherita in Corneto. Now orphaned, Lucy went to live with her aunt and uncle. As a child Lucy would prepare small altars and pray devoutly. It was soon clear that she possessed a precocious intelligence, an inclination toward the spiritual life, and a modesty that was truly angelic. Her vision was set on God. Notwithstanding her aristocratic upbringing, she always conducted herself with modesty and its practice.
At times Lucy would seek for a serene atmosphere in the nearby Benedictine Nuns' Monastery of Santa Lucia where the daughters of the nobility were educated. Lucy visited frequently, drawn there by her desire to be among those whose lives and goodness she admired. It was here that she received her First Communion. Here, too, Lucy received the spiritual nourishment of which she never had enough and listened attentively to the explanations of the divine mysteries. The grace she felt can be understood from the joy and enthusiasm expressed later as she led and instructed others. Desirous of penetrating the innermost meaning of the truths brought by Christ to mankind, she showed in her speech and her understanding a wisdom beyond her years. She spoke with much fervor, and her words of compassion and love brought tears to the eyes of her companions. They were a prelude to Lucy's future mission.
When Cardinal Mark Anthony Barbarigo made his first pastoral visit to Corneto, he made a lasting impression on Lucy and she followed him to Montefiascone. Entrusting herself to the Cardinal's guidance, Lucy was eager to leave behind all worldly things. Lucy had a special devotion to Our Lady, her spiritual mother, and throughout her life her deep love for Mary and her faith sustained her when Cardinal Barbarigo's plans were to be implemented in his dioceses. He had envisioned her as a key factor to bring about a rebirth of Christian living. He had already begun by establishing a seminary where young priests might study and train for the ministry of the Word.
The next step was to develop a Christian conscience and encourage the practice of virtue in the home; this he resolved to do by opening schools for young ladies, particularly the children of the poor, in whom he saw hope for the future. Lucy would head the schools they founded to promote the dignity of womanhood and help influence a healthy family life. Together they looked ahead to fulfilling their generous, ardent and profound mission of faith and charity. In 1692, teachers were trained to staff the rapidly expanding schools.
The young ladies of Montefuscione were taught domestic arts, weaving, embroidering, reading, and Christian doctrine. Twelve years later the Cardinal devised a set of rules to guide Lucy and her followers in the religious life. Fifty-two schools were established during Lucy's lifetime. As the Community grew, it attracted the attention of Pope Clement XI who, in 1707, called Lucy to Rome to start schools, which he placed under his special protection. Here she completed the work of founding the schools.
To complement the work of the schools, Lucy and her Teachers conducted classes and conferences for women, who were strengthened in their faith as they took part in prayer, meditation, and good works. Her focus for the social apostolate was to encourage her Teachers to minister to the needs of the poor and the sick. Her method of teaching attracted widespread attention.
History records that Saint Paul of the Cross was ''pleased to discover, even in the most humble villages, small and fervent centers of spiritual renewal where...the Religious Teachers kept alive the flame of faith, a wholesome fear of God, and an appreciation of educated life.'' Lucy's spiritual and educational adventure resulted in countless conversions through the gift of grace. The social apostolate was an extension of the classroom. She testified that the young ladies were the coordinating element that underlies family life: ''Having learned in school those things that were necessary, they repeat them to parents and relatives at home and thus become so many young teachers.''
Lucy died at sixty years of age, March 25, 1732, on Feast of the Annunciation For three centuries the example of Christian womanhood that marked the lives of her Teachers and students was recognized by Holy Mother Church. In 1930, Lucy Filippini's saintly life was adequately acknowledged. Not only was she officially declared a Saint of the Church, but she was given the last available niche in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. The Institute, which bears the name of Lucy Filippini, owes its birth to the solicitous good shepherd who loved schools and to the holy teacher who committed her entire life to the educative-apostolic mission.
This mission initiated by the Cardinal and Lucy 300 years ago, continues today through the schools and the Religious Family to which they gave life. Its mission has spread beyond Italy into Europe, the United States of American Brazil, Ethiopia and India.