Also known as
• Ecumenical Flame
• Elisa Angela Meneguzzi
• Sister Gudda (Ethiopian nickname)
• Sister Great (meaning of Gudda)
• Sister Liduina
Born to a poor farm family. Noted as a child for her piety, attending daily Mass, praying often, teaching catechism as soon as she was old enough, and considering the religious life. At age 14 she began working as a servant to local wealthy families, and in the hotels around the hot springs of Abano. On 5 March 1926 she answered the call to religious life and joined the Sisters of the Congregation of Saint Francis de Sales.
She worked for years at the Santa Croce boarding school as housekeeper, sacristan, nurse and big sister to the girls. In 1937 she was finally allowed to enter the mission fields, working at Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia, a cosmopolitan, crossroads city with people of many backgrounds, races and religions including Catholics, Copts, Muslims and native pagans. Liduina worked as a nurse in the Parini Civil Hospital first with civilian patients, and after the outbreak of World War II, with injured soldiers. When the city was bombed she worked in the streets, carrying the wounded to shelter, baptizing dying children, leading dying Christians through acts of contrition.
Her work with the Ethiopians, black and white, Christian, Muslim and neither, gave her the chance to speak to them all about the faith. She would tell any who would listen about the goodness of God the Father; her example led many to ask, and her ecumenism anticipated the later work of Vatican II.
12 September 1901 in Abano Terme, Padua, Italy as Elisa Angela Meneguzzi
• 2 December 1941 of cancer in Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia
• at the insistence of the injured soldiers who loved her, she was buried in the military graveyard at Dire-Dawa
• relics translated to the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Congregation of Saint Francis de Sales in Padua, Italy in July 1961
25 June 1996 by Pope John Paul II (promulgation of decree on heroic virtues)
20 October 2002 by Pope John Paul II
The message that the Blessed Liduina Meneguzzi nowadays brings to the Church and to the world is that of hope and love. A kind of hope which redeems men both from their selfishness and from aberrant forms of violence. A kind of love which is an urge to solidarity, to sharing out and to service, following the example of Christ who came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life to save all of us. - from the Decree on the Heroicness of the Virtues of Blessed Liduina by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
I've never seen someone dying with such joy and bliss. - the doctor who attended Liduina at the end.
Blessed Liduina Meneguzzi, Pray for us, Amen..