Canonization of St. Louise de Marillac: Account of March 9, 1934

(From “Chronicle of the American Sisters of the Eastern Province of the Canonization of St. Louise” [1934], used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

March 9 [1934]: Feast of St. Frances of Rome … At 9:00 we went to the American College to see Right Reverend Monsignor Breslin, who is Rector pro tem in the absence of Right Reverend Monsignor Burke, the President of the College … Leaving the College we drove out to the Church of St. Frances of Rome, situated on the Palative [sic] Hill. It is near the Forum and the Colisseum [sic]. As it was St. Frances’ feast day Low Mass was being said at two of the altars and elaborate preparations were in progress at the main altar for a Solemn Pontifical Mass to be sung by one of the Cardinals …

This afternoon Sister Visitatrix chose St. Ignatius’ church as our point of interest and the choice was, certainly, worthwhile … The entire ceiling of the middle aisle is covered with a detailed fresco depicting the missionary spirit of St. Ignatia. All the continents are symbolized and, of course, we looked twice at the group representing America. Wonderful old masterpieces in oil hang over the altars in the side chapels and precious marbles are seen on all sides.

The altar of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga is an unusual work of art. A bas-relief of heroic size, but of exquisite grace adorns the space above the altar and marks the place of the room in which he died. Under the table of the altar is an elaborately carved sarcophagus of lapis lazuli which enshrines the remains of the Patron of Youth. Directly opposite this altar is the altar dedicated to St. John Berchmans who, though he was a member of the Jesuit order for a little more than a year, lived a long life in a short while. His remains are enclosed in a similar sarcophagus and an heroic bas-relief tells the triumph of his sanctity. We obtained permission to view the rooms of those two young saints and through the four of us walked up a spiral staircase of at least two hundred steps we felt our efforts rewarded by the edification and the stimuli to sanctity that we received when we reached the goal. The bedrooms of these saints have been remodeled into chapels and are now gems of beauty …

The Western Sisters arrived tonight about 8:30. Our Most Honored Mother went to St. Martha’s.

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Filed under Louise de Marillac, Pius XI

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