Caiani, Maria Margherita del Sacro Cuore, Bl.

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Baptized Marianna Rosa Caiani, foundress of the Franciscan Minims of the Sacred Heart, Patroness of Tuscany; b. Poggio a Caiano, Diocese of Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy, Nov. 2, 1863; d. Montughi (near Florence), Italy, Aug. 8, 1921. Marianna Rosa worked in her family's store until after the deaths of her father Giacomo (1884) and mother Luisa (1890). In 1893, she tested her vocation at the Benedictine convent in Pistoia, but returned to Poggio a Caiano. There she founded a school (1894) and, with two companions who had left other convents, a community (1896). They formed (1905) the Minims of the Sacred Heart, who aided the wounded, sick, elderly, poor, and children of Tuscany. Maria Margherita was elected mother superior in 1915 for a term to last the rest of her life. She revised the congregation's constitution in 1920 to meet new needs and attach it to the franciscans. She was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1986 and beatified by him on April 23, 1989.

Bibliography: istituto minime suore s. cuore, Madre Maria Margherita Caiani (Poggio a Caiano 1969). Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1989): 563.

[k. i. rabenstein]