Nanetti, Clelia, St.

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In religion Maria Chiara (Eng.: Mary Clare); martyr, religious of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary; b. Jan. 9, 1872, Santa Maria Maddalena, Rovigo, Italy; d. July 9, 1900, Taiyüan, China. Impulsive, intelligent Clelia was born into a loving family of means. Although pious (one brother, Barnabé, was a Franciscan), her parents objected to her religious vocation. She joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary on Jan. 24, 1892 and began her novitiate three months later. She was sent to China soon after making her profession, arriving in Shanxi on May 4, 1899. When the Boxers threatened the mission, the bishop prepared to evacuate the orphanage, where Sr. Clelia was working. Clelia and the orphans returned when they found their escape route blocked. She was killed by the sword as she said, "Always forward!" She was beatified with her religious sisters by Pope Pius XII, Nov. 24, 1946, and canonized, Oct. 1, 2000, by Pope John Paul II with Augustine Zhao Rong and companions.

Feast: July 4.

Bibliography: g. goyau, Valiant Women: Mother Mary of the Passion and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, tr. g. telford (London 1936). m. t. de blarer, Les Bse Marie Hermine de Jésus et ses compagnes, franciscaines missionnaires de Marie, massacrées le 9 juillet 1900 à TaiYuanFou, Chine (Paris 1947). l. m. balconi, Le Martiri di Taiyuen (Milan 1945). Acta Apostolica Sedis 47 (1955) 381388. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. Ed. 40 (2000): 12, 10.

[k. i. rabenstein]