Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Blessed Amelia Bicchieri, O.P.: From Spoiled Daughter to Generous Saint!

2016.05.04 Blessed Emilia Bicchieri
Today’s Dominican saint is an example of the generous spirit inherited from our Holy Father Dominic.  Born in 1238, the fourth of seven daughters, she received a good education and was doted on by her father.  He loved her dearly, even though she “emptied her purse as fast as he filled it!”  But while her older sisters were planning for marriages, Blessed Amelia had decided she wanted to be a nun.

Unsure how to tell her father, for fear it would break his heart, it wasn’t until he was suddenly taken ill and near death that she broached the subject with him.  Much to her relief, he gave her his blessing before he died and when his estate and her mother were taken care of, she set about building a new foundation of Dominican sisters, using her sizeable inheritance for the endeavor.  The Dominican friars of Vercelli supported her project and a Dominican nun from another community served as novice mistress for Blessed Amelia and the thirty other young women who had gathered in this new foundation.  When their formation was over, Blessed Amelia was unanimously elected their first superior.

Blessed Amelia served her community with the same humble and generous spirit she cultivated in her youth.  One of the convent tasks she enthusiastically completed was that of infirmarian.  But once in the exercise of this office, she had a difficult choice.  It was Christmas Day and there were three very sick sisters in the infirmary, one who could not be left alone for long.  Yet, Blessed Amelia wanted with all her heart to receive communion. Blessed Amelia remained in the infirmary during Mass and hurried out just long enough to receive communion before rushing back, without taking time for a long thanksgiving she felt the occasion demanded.  But when she returned to the infirmary and looked at her sisters, on divine inspiration she said, “I am not alone, my sisters; see, I bring Jesus to bless you.”  And with that, our Lord chose that moment to heal the sick sisters.

On another occasion, while taking care of the sick, Blessed Amelia arrived at the end of Mass and thus missed Holy Communion. She complained to the Lord about not having been able to receive Him, when suddenly, miraculously, an Angel appeared and gave her Communion.

Through her prayers, many sick people were cured, and other miracles were worked in her life, yet she was always humble and seemed embarrassed about those things. Blessed Amelia Bicchieri died in 1314, after a half-century of prayer and good works in the convent which she had founded.  She was beatified in 1769.

Blessed Amelia Bicchieri, pray for us!

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