If anyone knew rejection, ridicule and disappointment, it was this saint. But such trials only brought Maria Bertilla Boscardin closer to God and more determined to serve him.
Born in Italy in 1888, the young girl lived in fear of her father, a violent man prone to jealousy and drunkenness. She lacked education, showed few talents, and was often the butt of jokes.
In 1904, she joined the Sisters of Saint Dorothy and received nurses’ training and began working in a hospital with children suffering from diphtheria. There the young nun seemed to find her true vocation: nursing very ill and disturbed children. Later, when the hospital was taken over by the military in World War I, Sister Maria Bertilla fearlessly cared for patients amidst the threat of constant air raids and bombings.
She died in 1922 after suffering for many years from a painful tumor. Some of the patients she had nursed many years before were present at her canonization in 1961.
This fairly recent saint knew the hardships of living in an abusive situation. Let us pray to her to help all those who are suffering from any form of spiritual, mental, or physical abuse.