Philippa Mareri, Bl.
PHILIPPA MARERI, BL.
Poor Clare abbess; b. Petrella Salto, Cicoli, Abruzzi, Italy, 1200; d. Villa Casardita, Feb. 16, 1236. Philippa was the daughter of Philip, first lord of Mareri. She early became acquainted with the work of St. francis of assisi. Not wishing to become involved in the quarrels between her brother Thomas and frederick ii, she refused all marriage proposals and withdrew with a few of her friends to a grotto near Mareri for a life of prayer and penance. Thomas reconciled himself to her decision and on Sept. 28, 1228, gave her a church in Villa Casardita, now known as Borgo San Pietro. She restored the building and built a convent that is the poor clares' oldest convent in the kingdom of Sicily. On July 21, 1231, gregory ix took the house under his protection and integrated its community with the Poor Clares. The pious abbess recruited many young women of quality, was recognized for her humility, austerity, and charity, as well as for her organizational ability, and governed the monastery until her death. Her spiritual director, roger of todi, was present at her deathbed and delivered the eulogy at her burial. Philippa's reported apparitions and miracles gave rise to a local cult, and on June 27, 1247, innocent iv granted an indulgence of 40 days annually on her feast day. In the 14th century a rhythmic office was composed in her honor (ed. Rome 1545, Naples 1668). In 1806 the cult was extended to the Franciscans and to the Dioceses of Rieti and Sulmona; new lessons in her honor were approved in 1838.
Feast: Feb. 16.
Bibliography: a. chiappini, "S. Filippa Mareri," Miscellanea francescana 22 (1922) 65–119. l. ziliani, La baronessa santa (Bergamo 1935). lÉon of clary, Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders of Saint Francis, 4 v. (Taunton, Eng. 1885–87) 1:257–260. Vies des saintes et des bienheuruex 2:365–367. g. fussenegger, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 8:457.