Blessed Paula Montaldi
Blessed Paula Montaldi
(Beato Paula Montaldi)
Virgin, Second Order
In the diocese of Mantua near the little town of Volta lies the castle of the Montaldi in which Paula, a member of this noble and devout family, was born. From infancy she was remarkable for rare modesty, angelic innocence, and strong attraction to piety, and was frequently called the little saint.
When she grew into young womanhood and had made her debut in society, she was seized with such loathing for its vain amusements that she left home and repaired to the convent of Saint Lucy at Mantua. The rule of Saint Clare, as mitigated by Pope Urban IV, was observed in this convent.
Paula was invested with the holy habit in 1458, when she was but fifteen years of age. In spite of her youth she entered upon religious life with unusual seriousness. Desirous of making a sacrifice of her body to God, she added to the prescribed practices of the community many fasts and penitential exercises and observed long vigils. For the short rest she allowed herself, she used the floor for her bed and a stone for her pillow. She kept a careful check on her senses and on the affections of her heart.
She not only avoided idle words, but prevented useless and distracting thoughts from gaining entrance into her heart, for which reason she was almost constantly in intimate union with God. And the God of Love sometimes favored her with raptures and ecstasies. Meanwhile, she looked upon herself as the last and least among the sisters, even after she had spent many years in the convent.
Her sisters duly appreciated her merits and chose her three times for their abbess. With her humble charity and enlightened wisdom this mistress of the spiritual life led many of her fellow sisters to a high degree of perfection. Attracted by the fame of her sanctity, lay people also came to seek advice and consolation, and to obtain the help of God through her prayers.
After she had withstood severe attacks from hell, and her patience had been tried by long and wearisome illness, Blessed Paula Montaldi passed to the vision of God in 1514. Her tomb in the church of the convent at Mantua became the object of universal veneration.
When, at the close of the eighteenth century, Emperor Joseph II of Austira suppressed even this old and venerable convent, the city of Volta gladly brought the body of their fellow citizen into their church and erected a magnificent tomb for Blessed Paula Montaldi before Our Lady’s altar. Pope Pius IX approved the veneration of Blessed Paula in 1866.
*from The Franciscan Book of Saints, by Fr. Habig, OFM
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