Volpicelli, Caterina, Bl.
VOLPICELLI, CATERINA, BL.
Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart; b. Naples, Italy, Jan. 21, 1839; d. there, Dec. 28, 1894. Born into an upper middle-class family, Caterina received an excellent education at the Royal College of S. Marcellino under the tutelage of Marguerita Salatino. She became the spiritual mother to Bl. Bartolo longo after meeting him in the home of her brother-in-law, Marchese Francesco Imperiali in 1854. She sought entrance into the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament (May 28, 1859), but was forced to leave the community due to illness. Upon her recovery she was active in promoting the Apostleship of Prayer. On July 20, 1861, she received approval from Cardinal Sisto Riario Sforza to promote holy hours for the conversion of sinners. In addition to founding the Servants of the Sacred Heart in Naples with the Third Rule of St. Francis (July 1, 1874), Caterina instituted the Daughters of Mary, opened an orphanage, established a lending library, and participated in the national Eucharistic conference in Naples (Nov. 19–22, 1891).
The congregation, which includes both cloistered nuns as well as married and single oblates, tended to the sick during a cholera epidemic (1884). The constitution was approved in 1911.
The diocesan process for Volpicelli's beatification was completed 1896–1902 and officially presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Jan. 11, 1911. She was declared venerable by Pope Pius XII (March 25, 1945) and beatified by John Paul II, April 29, 2001, for being "prophetically oriented to the promotion of the laity and new forms of consecrated life."
Feast: Dec. 28.
Bibliography: L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. Ed. 18 (2001), 1, 6–8; 19 (2001), 7, 10.
[k. i. rabenstein]