Blessed Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini, 1789 – 1868
BL. MARIA DOMENICA BRUN BARBANTINI was born on 17 January 1789 in Lucca, Italy. She married at the age of 22, but six months later her husband died and that same night she consecrated herself to the Lord forever.
She was expecting a child and gave birth to a son. While seeing that he received a Christian upbringing, she carried on her husband’s business activities and still found time at night to help the poor, sick and abandoned.
She continued to serve them and gradually attracted a group of women who devoted themselves entirely to this charitable service. In 1817 they became the Pious Union of the Sisters of Charity.
Her son died at the age of eight after a short illness. Her love for God led her to work wherever she was needed. In advance of her time, she gave an impetus to all the activities of Catholic action.
After living with the Visitandines, the question arose as to whether God wanted her to be entirely consecrated to prayer or to serving the poor sick.
She met Fr Antonio Scalabrini, later Superior General of the Order of St Camillus, who taught her the spirit of service to the sick, which led to the foundation of the Sisters Servants of the Sick of St Camillus in 1829, dedicated to serving the sick in the Camillian spirit. In 1841 the Archbishop of Lucca approved her Rule and granted the new community the status of a diocesan religious institute. She died in Lucca on 22 May 1868.