Saturday, February 16, 2013

St. Filippa Mareri

The saint of the day for February 16 is St. Filippa Mareri.

Filippa Mareri (c. 1190-1236) was born to a noble family in their castle in Cicolano, an inland area in the province of Rieti, Italy. Inspired by St. Clare of Assisi, Filippa was a cultured woman who left a life of luxury and wealth behind  in order to embrace a life of holiness and poverty. When her family (particularly her brother Thomas) disapproved, she ran away with like-minded companions, and took refuge in a nearby mountain cave, now as the Holy Grotto of Filippa. After several months, Thomas asked her forgiveness and  donated property to the community. He gave them an abandoned monastery named after St. Peter.

St. Francis of Assisi assigned Blessed Roger of Todi, to provide spiritual direction to this group of consecrated women. The community subsequently adapted a rule modeled upon that of the Poor Clares, which was confirmed by the Roman Curia. The women spent much of their time in prayer and penance. They also prepared and dispensed medication, which they gave to the poor, without cost. When Filippa prayed, she carried a small cup to catch her tears so they would not wet the chapel floor. The water in the cup was reported to have miraculous powers and was used to heal those with physical ailments. Filippa is considered to be the first female saint of the Franciscan Order.

“The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
(Filippa's last words to her Sisters)

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