VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the biography issued by the Holy See of Sister Maria Ludovica de Angelis (1880-1962), whom the Pope will beatify on Oct. 3 in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
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Born on Oct. 24, 1880, in Italy, at St. Gregorio, a small village of Abruzzo, not too far from the city of L’Aquila, Sister Maria Ludovica De Angelis, the first of eight children, brought great happiness to her parents. On the same afternoon of the day she was born, she was carried to the baptismal font where her parents chose the name of Antonina for their firstborn.
Even as a very young child, Antonina loved nature, and, as she worked long and tirelessly in the fields, she felt right at home being so close to God’s earth. A bright and honest child, Antonina grew into a sensitive and delicate yet very strong young woman. She was somewhat reserved, as was typical of the people of her native land. However, her penetrating and serious eyes conveyed boundless tenderness and this is how she looked upon all whom she met, especially the children.
On Dec. 7 of the same year on which Antonina was born, a great woman died in Savona. The woman of whom we speak had chosen to dedicate fully her own life to the following of Christ who said: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful…” and “All that you do the least of my brethren, you do to me…”
She was Saint Mary Joseph Rossello who began the Institute of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, a Religious Family, her family that, having taken its first steps in 1837, was now spreading to various parts of the world as it engaged in the works of mercy.
This Religious Family, known for its good example and genuine religious lifestyle, was’ attracting many other women to follow the same ideal.
Antonina, coming to know this religious family, immediately felt in her heart that her dreams were echoing the same dreams as those cherished by Mother Rossello. There was no need to search further. She entered the community of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy in November 1904 and, on the day of her reception, she received the name of Sister M. Ludovica. Exactly three years after her entrance, on November 14, 1907, in God’s Providence, she set sail for Buenos Aires, arriving there on December 4. From this time she gave of herself unselfishly in uninterrupted service and ministered with complete dedication in whatever she was called to do.
Sister Ludovica did not have a formal education, but all that she accomplished through her own resourcefulness astounded everyone who lived with her and knew her. Although her Spanish was mixed with Italian, her native tongue — an abruzzese dialect — she understood well and was always able to make herself understood. She had neither the talent nor the ability to set up programs or to write goals and objectives. However, she gave of herself completely in her assignment at the Children’s Hospital.
From her very first days in the Hospital she felt at home and took on the task of providing the meals for the children, Sisters and staff. Later, when she was named as manageress of the Hospital and Superior of the community, she was known as the untiring angel of the hospital staff that, through her loving efforts, was gradually becoming a strong and united family with a single goal in mind — the good of the children.
Gentle in manner and determined in her commitment, she always had the Rosary in her hands, her gaze and heart turned to God, and a warm smile lighted up her face. Through her unbounded goodness, without being aware of it, Sister Ludovica became a constant instrument of mercy so that the message of God’s love for each one of his children was touching everyone.
Her goal in life was repeated in the sentence: “Do good to all, no matter who it may be.”
Heaven only knows how Sister Ludovica managed to procure financial help to build operating rooms, additional children’s rooms, medical equipment, a building at Mar del Plata for convalescing children, a Chapel — today a parish — and even a flourishing farm, at City Bell, that yielded abundant produce so that her children could have good nourishment. All this was accomplished by this simple woman who was driven by love and complete dedication.
For 54 years, Sister Maria Ludovica was a friend, mother and counselor to countless numbers of people of every social condition.
On Feb. 25, 1962, her earthly journey ended as God summoned her to her eternal reward. However, her story did not end in death. For those who knew her, especially the medical personnel, were very mindful of all the good she had accomplished. They named the Children’s Hospital after her, calling it “Superior Ludovica Hospital.”