I am related to an Italian saint

By Kim Roberts

Our family recently discovered that we have a saint in the family.

On my mother’s side, my great, great aunt Anna Francesca Boscardin was canonized as St. Maria Bertilla Boscardin in 1961 and is the patron saint of rejection.

What I have learned from my aunt’s life is relevant today.

She was a young woman who suffered rejection, ridicule and disappointment throughout most of her life, especially at school. Yet, she was able to take those trials and use them to grow closer to God, and she was determined to serve him.

Born in Brendola, Italy, in 1888, young Bertilla lived in fear of her father, a violent man prone to bouts of drunkenness. Her schooling was short-lived so that she could spend more time helping at home and working the fields.

She demonstrated few talents and was often the butt of jokes and referred to as a “goose.”

In 1904, she joined the Sisters of Saint Dorothy and worked in the kitchen, bakery and laundry. She later received nurses’ training and began working in a hospital with children suffering from diphtheria.

She died in 1922 after suffering for many years from a painful tumor. Her feast day is Oct. 20.

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