Blessed Celestina Donati Foundress
Marradi, Florence, October 28, 1848 – Firenze, 18 March 1925
Maria Anna Donati was born in Marradi (Firenze) on October 28, 1848, she soon felt attracted by the religious life, so she spent a period of reflection at the Sisters Vallombrosa, but the experience was not successful. She returned to her family and was entrusted the spiritual guidance of father Celestino Piarist Zini, who saw the hidden possibilities of the young and experienced spiritual touch, and led her to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. With his advice, at age 41, she founded the new Congregation of the “Daughters of St. Poor Joseph Calasanz” in 1899, known as “Calasanziane” its purpose was educating poor Christian girls, which was later expanded to education of the children of prisoners.
The message of Calasanz, endorsed by Mother Celestina Donati, who, upon taking her vows, had changed her name from Mary Anne, is always alive and present, who is active in using social skills, but also a “more” of human and civil especially the “extra soul” that comes from faith. In 1892 her spiritual director and driving force, Father Zini, died. Meanwhile he had become archbishop of Siena, all the responsibility the institution remained his, he governed wisely, spreading in all regions of Italy.
She knew how to instill in her daughters the spirit of poverty that accompanied all her life, creandole many difficulties in the management of the Institute. Humble in nature, she posed any problem to her ecclesiastical superiors, following with docility to their managerial employees, worked to establish the Institute in Rome, contracting considerable debt, and succeeded with the help of many people.
Celestina Mother died in Florence on March 18, 1925, ten years later began the cause for her beatification, July 12, 1982 was published the decree of introduction, April 6 ,1998 she was the one on heroic virtues and the title of Venerable.
Among the many houses that her Calasanziane sisters run, there is the “oasis calasanziana” Mamma Bella “on Salentine Fields, near Lecce, in whose church lie the relics of the saint Calasanz Pompilio Maria Pirrotta, who lived in these places and that the so called Madonna. The work of the sisters goes beyond that with salentini now with Albanian immigrants.
She was beatified in Florence on March 30, 2008.
Source: Santi e Beati