Gerosa, Vincenza, St.
GEROSA, VINCENZA, ST.
Cofoundress of the Sisters of Charity of Lovere; b. Lovere (Lombardy), Italy, Oct. 29, 1784; d. Lovere, June 28, 1847. Vincenza's family was well-to-do and noted for its charities to the poor and to the Church, but it suffered so much from domestic disharmony that Vincenza's mother died away from the household alone and poor. Priests advised the daughter not to exchange her home for that of her uncles, lest she forfeit her patrimonial rights. Once she fell heir, with her sister, to the family fortune, she indulged her charitable zeal by transforming a house belonging to her into a hospital. In it she performed the humblest duties, leaving control to Bartolomea capitanio.
Learning of the latter's intention to found a religious institute that would enable her to expand her charitable endeavors, she became cofoundress and ceded all her wealth to the new congregation. When Capitanio died (1833) a year later, Vincenza, in her humility, thought herself totally incapable of carrying on the work. Local priests, however, dissuaded her from returning to secular life.
Vincenza proved sensible, penitent, and courageous enough to surmount every obstacle. To her belongs the credit for drawing up the constitutions of the Sisters of Charity, winning ecclesiastical approval for the institute, guiding it in its early years, and developing its characteristic spirit of amiability, humility, and charity. Against her wish she was elected superior when the first community was juridically established (Nov. 21, 1835). At her death there were 243 members in 24 houses. Her most characteristic saying was: "One who knows the Crucified
knows all. One who does not know the Crucified knows nothing." She was beatified May 7, 1933, and canonized May 18, 1950.
Feast: June 28.
Bibliography: a. stocchetti, Le Sante Bartolomea Capitanio e Vincenza Gerosa (Vicenza 1950).
[m. c. bianchi]