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Vendramini, Elisabetta, Bl.

VENDRAMINI, ELISABETTA, BL.

Foundress of the Franciscan Tertiary Sisters of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary; b. Bassano del Grappa (near Treviso), Italy, April 9, 1790; d. Padua, April 2, 1860. Elisabetta was educated in an Augustinian convent where she was imbued with an intense spirituality. In 1917, Elisabetta broke off her six-year engagement on the evening before her wedding because she felt a strong, clear calling to dedicate herself to the poor. She cared for children in her hometown, then joined the staff of the Capuchin orphanage (1820). In 1821 she assumed the habit of the Third Order of St Francis. After moving to Padua (1827), she again worked with children and opened a tuition-free school at Padua with two friends (1829). She then founded the Sisters of St. Elizabeth, a religious institute to care for orphans, elderly women, and the sick (1830). The congregation's constitution, using the rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, was completed October 4, 1830, and the first sisters were professed the following year. Elisabetta served as superior for more than three decades before her death. Pope John Paul II beatified her on Nov. 4, 1990.

Feast: April 2 (Franciscans).

Bibliography: Madre Elisabetta Vendramini e la sua opera nella documentazione del tempo (Padua 1972). L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 6 (1990): 1.

[k. i. rabenstein]

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