Mary Domenica Mazzarello
Maria Domenica Mazzarello
Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello (1837-1881)
Co-Foundress of the Institute of the FMA
Beatified on 20-11-38
Canonized on 24-6-51
The biography of Mary Domenica Mazzarello
is brief (44 years). It could be divided into four stages, each characterized by a precise area of maturation in her Christian and consecrated life.
The first stage
refers to the first thirteen years, from her birth in Mornese, in Upper Monferrato (1837) to her First Communion (1850). These were years lived in the family, characterized by a solid Christian life and by tireless work as peasants. Intelligent, strong-willed and gifted with a rich affectivity, Mary Domenica undertook her journey of maturing her faith accompanied by her parents and by her wise spiritual director Fr. Domenico Pestarino.
The second stage
(1850-1860) is characterized by a marked
internalisation of the faith, a fruit of her First Communion. This would lead her to
consecrate her youth to God with the vow of virginity and with her zealous participation
in the life of the parish, especially through her membership in the group of the Daughters
of Mary Immaculate. At 23 she was stricken ill with a severe case of typhoid, an event that would
profoundly change her life. She leaves behind her work in the farm, not only because of the loss
of her physical strength but because a clear educational intuition begins to mature in her.
Thus, she dedicates herself to the education of young girls of the village through a sewing workroom,
a festive oratory and a home for orphaned girls.
In the third stage
(1860-1872) we see her as a woman more open to
God’s plan in her life. The encounter with Saint John Bosco (1864) is God’s response to the
deepest apostolic desires in her heart. On August 5, 1872 a new religious family dedicated to
the good of the young is born. Don Bosco is the Founder and Mary Domenica Mazzarello is the
Co-Foundress of this institute.
The The fourth and last stage
, of her life (1872-1881)
is characterized by Mary Domenica Mazzarello’s spiritual motherhood through the
formation of the Sisters, her numerous travels to visit the new foundations, the growth
and missionary expansion of the Institute, her written words, the daily offering of herself
in “patient and compassionate charity”.
She died in Nizza Monferrato on May 14, 1881.
She left her daughters with a solid educational tradition;
God has granted her the gift of discernment and made her a simple and wise woman.
Her feast is celebrated on May 13.