Frassinetti, Paola Angela Maria, St.

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Also Paula; founder of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Dorotea (Dorotheans); b. March 3, 1809, Genoa, Italy; d. June 11, 1882, Rome. The only daughter of the five children of John and Angela Frassinetti, Paola's four brothers became priests. When her mother died in 1818, her aunt took charge of the family until her own death in 1821. After that, Paola cared for the household. She was educated at home by her father and brothers. Bronchial problems caused her to go to Quinto al Mare (Genoa) in 1830, where she lived with her brother (Ven.) Giuseppe frassinetti, a priest. She served as the parish housekeeper and taught the local girls. When Paola's ill health frustrated her attempts to join a religious congregation, she founded her own institute, the Dorotheans, at St. Clara's (Aug. 12, 1834), which was dedicated to the education of girls from all walks of life. After difficult early years, the institute received papal approval in 1863. Paola remained superior general until her death; after 1841 she resided in Rome. She saw the Dorotheans spread through Italy and abroad to Portugal and Brazil. In 1876, Frassinetti suffered the first of several paralyzing strokes. She died peacefully of pneumonia at the mother house, St. Onofrio in Rome, where she is buried. Frassinetti, patron of the sick, was beatified in 1930, and canonized March 11, 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

Feast: June 11.

Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 77 (1985): 923928. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed., no. 13 (1984): 3. h. cashin, A Great Servant of God, Mother Paola Frassinetti (Staten Island, N.Y. 1951). h. trinkler, Die andere Möglichkeit (Freiburg, Switzerland 1977). j. unfreville, A Foundress in 19th Century Italy: Blessed Paula Frassinetti and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Dorothy (New York 1944).

[f. g. sottocornola]