Josephine Vannini, foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Camillus, was born in Rome, Italy, on 7 July 1859. She was baptized Giuditta Adelaide Agata the following day in the Church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte. An orphan by the age of seven, Giuditta found a home with the Daughters of Charity. Attracted by the voice of God, which she experienced on the day of her First Communion, she desired to consecrate her life to him but was unable to enter the convent due to poor health.
A providential meeting with Camillian Father Luigi Tezza (now Blessed) opened the way for Giuditta to abandon herself totally to the Lord. On 17 December 1891, she confided to the retreat master her distress at her vocational failure. Father Tezza suggested that she found a religious institute dedicated to the service of the sick. After two days of prayer, Giuditta agreed, adding that she was capable of nothing but wanting to abandon herself with filial confidence to Divine Providence.
On 2 February 1892, in the chapel and chambers where Saint Camillus had died, the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Camillus was born. Giuditta received the name Sister Josephine and three years later, on 8 December 1895, she professed her perpetual vows and was elected Superior General of the new institute.
Mother Josephine Vannini died in Rome on 23 February 1911, and was proclaimed Blessed on 16 October 1994 by Saint John Paul II. The holy life of Josephine Vannini teaches us, even now, through the institute she founded, to bear witness in a simple and concrete way to the Lord’s love and compassion for the poor, the sick and the suffering, in the certitude that “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
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