The Life of Elisabetta
1786: Birth of Maria Elisabetta Renzi
Birth of Elisabetta Renzi in Saludecio, Italy to Giambattista Renzi and Vittoria Boni. She was baptized the day after her birth, in the parish Church of Saludecio. Her baptism is recorded in the parish registry and it remains there in the Church’s archives. Her brother says of Elisabetta’s childhood,”Even as a child, Elisabetta opened herself up to silence and prayer; she lived in the comforts of their birth family as a ray of light shining on pure gold; she did not acquire beauty from the wealth around her, but everything precious around her. She herself made beautiful with her great goodness and sweetness.”
1807: Augustinian Convent at Pietrarubbia
Enters the Convent of Augustinians at Pietrarubbia located in Urbino district at the age of 21. It was at this monastery that Elisabetta had her first experience of monastic life.
1810: Augustinian Convent Closed
Convent at Pietrarubbia closed as a result of the storm of the Nopoleonic revolution. Elisabetta and the other religious were expelled from the convent. She returned to the home of her parents to wait for the time when she could fulfill her goal. Elisabetta accepted everything with a peaceful spirit, and did not lose hope or let her heart be disturbed. She trusted that everything turns out well for those who love and seek God.
1824: Conservatory in Coriano
Elisabetta goes to the Conservatory at Coriano which was founded by Father Giacomo Gabellini at the invitation of Father Corbucci. He encouraged her to explore the possibility that God wanted for her to care for others, perhaps through teaching. He said to her,” Your vocation is to be an educator.” On April 29, 1824, Elisabettta suggested to Father Gabelline to consolidate with Canossian Sisters in other to give the institution a more stable future.
1828: Director of Conservatory
Elisabetta becomes directress of the Conservatory when it’s future seemed very uncertain. She later purchased the property. She improved the reputation of the Conservatory, which was damaged by the Masons. In order to achieve this, she chose a deep spiritual life as the foundation for the community.
1829: Rule of Life for the Poor of the Crucified
Elisabetta writes a rule with the title: “Rule of Life that is Prescribed for The Poor of the Crucified.” In addition she is asked to assume the direction of a day school and a small boarding school that had already been founded in 1825. She accepted only because of her desire to be of help to the young souls.
1839: Founding the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows
Canonical erection of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. Elisabetta Renzi and ten of her companions recieved the religious habit.
1846: Giuseppina Renzi
Giuseppina Renzi, Mother Elisabetta’s niece comes to Coriano as a boarding student and became a sister in the Congregation of The Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows.
1859: Death of Elisabetta Renzi
Elisabetta suddenly felt a loss of strength; doctors diagnosed a progressive weakening, stomach ache, and sore throat which were so severe. However, after a lengthy study of her sickness, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the larynx. On August 14, 1859, the ever of the Assumption of Mary, she received communion for the last time. Upon hearing the bell announcing the arrival of the priest carrying communion, she whispered, “I ask pardon of everyone for all my faults and omissions. Pray for me! Goodbye, beloved daughters; be generous with the Lord. I carry you all I my heart and bless you. We will see each other up there in heaven and from up there, I will tell you again to be grateful to the Lord. Let you faithfulness be your thanksgiving, since the more you receive, the more God will ask of you my daughters. At 8:00 am, Elisabetta seemed to the dozing off, and then she opened her eyes and whispered, “I see. . . I see. . . I see”, then she passed.
1965: Beatification Process
Congregation begins the process for the beatification of Mother Elisabetta Renzi after it was given a miracle of a miraculous healing of Sister Agostina Galli, OLS.
1988: Elisabetta declared Venerable
Mother Elisabetta’s grave became the object of veneration. As soon as she arrived in heaven she was bombarded by requests of every kind, and people started talking about graces received through her intercession. The sisters published the most significant graces. After a time, they started working towards the beatification of Elisabetta Renzi, but political situations and legalities delayed the filing. Not until 1968 was it possible to open the process of beatification, which ended in February 1988 with the decree on the heroic virtues of Elisabetta.
1989: Mother Elisabetta’s Beatification
The solemn beatification of Mother Elisabetta was held on June 18, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, along with that of His Excellency Antonio Lucci, of the Congregation of the Franciscan Minors, Bishop of Bovino. That was an unforgettable day, marked by the solemnity of the celebration, the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II and hundreds of people gathered for this event. The event marked a new fervent revival of the charism, with a blossom of vocations in our Congregation.
The charism of Blessed Elisabetta Renzi can be summarized in one phrase that give direction to our life: “Ardere et Lucere”
(“To burn and to light”) – thus, the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows define themselves in the constitutions by saying “We are contemplatives in action…. We propose, as the purpose of our consecration, the glory of God and our own sanctification so that we may be effective instruments of salvation for all, but especially for youth that they may be educated, instructed and assisted, whatever their status of life.”
Jesus is here. He is always with you daughters. He alone founded the Congregation; He alone will keep watch over it. I didn't do anything. I have done nothing but undo His work. Let us love our good Lord. I in the blessedness that I hope to reach through his goodness and mercy, you in humility and struggle.
Blessed Elisabetta Renzi