Verzeri, Teresa Eustochio, St.

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The foundress of the Daughters of the sacred heart (Bergamo); b. Bergamo, Italy, July 31, 1801; d. Brescia, March 3, 1852. Her family was noble and very religiousher mother and three of her sisters joined her congregation; her brother Gerolamo became bishop of Brescia. Even as an adolescent Teresa aspired to the cloister. It was a much-disturbed period when new ideas were profoundly transforming the popular outlook. Democratic aspirations opened the door to a spirit of laicism, which often led to open Church and State conflicts. In this disorientation of values Teresa preserved complete devotion to the pope, and matured her vocation as educator. After entering the Benedictine convent of St. Grata on three different occasions, and then leaving it upon the advice of her spiritual director, Canon Giuseppe Benaglio, she founded in 1831, together with him, her own congregation. She was noted for her ability at governing and writing, and still more for her vigorous spirituality, strong faith, and balance between contemplation and action. As an educator she showed originality, particularly in her preventive method. She was beatified on Oct. 27, 1946 and canonized on June 10, 2001.

Feast: March 3.

Bibliography: Works. Lettere, 7 v. (Brescia 187478); Libro dei doveri, 3 v. (5th ed. Bergamo 1952). Literature. g. arcangeli, Vita di Teresa Verzeri (2d ed. Bergamo 1896). e. valentini, Il sistema preventivo della Beata Verzeri (Turin 1952). d. t. donadoni, Teresa Verzeri (Turin 1964).

[d. donadoni]