January 31, 2018

⛪ Blessed Ludovica Albertoni - Laywoman; Mystic

The Blessed Ludovica Albertoni
distributing Alms.
(Giovanni Battista Gaulli ca. 1670)
⛪ Saint of the Day : January 31

Other Names : Louisa Albertoni • Ludovica Albertoni Cetera

Born : 1474 in Rome, Italy

Died : 31 January 1533 in Rome, Italy

Ludovica or Luisa, wife, mother and widow, of the Secular Franciscan Order, mystic while mother for the poor and sick, was born in Rome in 1474 of the noble Albertoni family. At a very tender age she was orphaned as a father, and when the mother remarried, the child was entrusted to the care of her maternal grandmother and some aunts.

At the age of twenty, against her wishes and projects, she was given in marriage to the noble Giacomo de la Cetera, whom she nevertheless joined as a loving wife and of whom she had three daughters. In 1506, after 12 happy marriage years and when she was 32, she became a widow. He entered the Third Order of San Francisco, even externally clothed his habit, and, in addition to caring for the education of his daughters, he began a new life, all of which was devoted to prayer and contemplation, to penance and to works of mercy, such as to provide dowry for poor young women for their marriage or to visit the poor and the sick in their slums or in hospital establishments, where they cured the sores and wounds of the flesh as well as the wounds of the spirit. His generosity came to exhaust all his goods,

The Lord granted him the extraordinary gift of mystical ecstasies, which reached great fame and diffusion at that time. He died in Rome on January 31, 1533. Immediately after his death he enjoyed public worship, which was officially confirmed by Pope Clement X (Emilio Altieri) on January 28, 1671. His body is preserved in the splendid sepulcher that was he dedicated him in the Altieri chapel of the Franciscan church of San Francisco to Ripa, in Rome.

Indeed, as a result of the beatification, the Altieri family decided to dedicate an altar to him in his chapel of the church of San Francisco to Ripa, in Rome. Immediately afterwards, Cardinal Paluzzo Albertoni Altieri entrusted the work to the great sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), who years before had sculpted the "Ecstasy of Saint Teresa" for the Cornaro Chapel and was already at the maturity of his life and of his art. In January 1674, when the work was finished, the remains of the Blessed were recognized and then deposited in the magnificent new marble tomb, where they are still today. On the altar of the sepulcher was placed the statue of Bernini representing the Blessed, larger than the natural, no longer deceased, but reclined in the mystical ecstasy in which he died. Human suffering and celestial happiness are reflected in her face. She lived repeated experiences of mystical visions and ecstasies, and Bernini, faithful to the image he had of Ludovica, wanted to represent her at the moment of his death, but transforming that dramatic moment into a moment of ecstasy and mystical union with his Lord. Bernini himself decorated the frame of the small chapel, in which light is filtered through an invisible skylight, which falls like a luminous stream on the face of the blessed.

Bernini's sculpture of Albertoni in the Altieri chapel of
San Francesco a Ripa.

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