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Saint of the Day December 15: St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli: Life and Work of the Foundress of the Company of the Daughters of Our Lady at Mount Calvary


Virginia Centurione




April 02, 1587, Genoa


December 15, 1651, Genoa


15 December


Sept. 22, 1985, Rome, Pope John Paul II


May 18, 2003, Rome, Pope John Paul II



Holy Father, source of all good, who make us sharers in Your Spirit of life, we thank You that You granted St. Virginia the living flame of Love for You and for her brothers and sisters, especially for the poor and defenseless, the image of Your Crucified Son. Grant us to live her experience of mercy, acceptance and forgiveness and, through her intercession, the grace we now ask of You. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Roman Martyrology

In Genoa, St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli, a widow, who, dedicated to serving God, rushed to the aid of the poor in many ways, supported rural churches and established and ruled the Ladies of Mercy Protectors of the Poor.

The Saint and Mission

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli, a 17th-century Genoese noblewoman who became a key figure in charity and assistance to the needy, exemplarily embodies the Christian mission through service to others. Her life is a clear example of how faith can translate into concrete action for the good of the community.

St. Virginia’s mission began with a deep sense of compassion for the poor and suffering of her city, Genoa, which at the time was plagued by war, pestilence and poverty. Widowed at only 20 years of age and the mother of two daughters, Virginia chose to devote her life to the service of others rather than retreat to a life of affluent nobility.

Her most significant action was the founding of the Company of the Daughters of Our Lady at Mount Calvary, an organization dedicated to assisting the poor, the sick and the abandoned. This initiative not only provided food, shelter and medical care, but also engaged in the education of children and support for women in need. St. Virginia’s vision was one of holistic service that addressed both the material and spiritual needs of those being cared for.

St. Virginia also distinguished herself by her ability to mobilize resources and support for her charitable works. Despite the challenges and resistance she encountered, her determination and unconditional faith guided her through difficulties and obstacles, demonstrating an extraordinary ability to transform her vision into tangible reality.

Her life is a powerful example of how Christian mission can be lived out through a daily commitment to help others. St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli teaches us that true faith is manifested in active love and selfless service, and that each of us is called to make a difference in the lives of others by following Christ’s example.

The Saint and Mercy

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli, a 17th-century Genoese noblewoman who dedicated her life to the service of the most needy, is an exemplary model of Christian mercy. Her existence was a continuous act of love and compassion, exemplifying the heart of the Christian mission through her actions and social engagement.

St. Virginia’s mercy was initially manifested in her personal commitment to the poor, sick and orphans of her city. Widowed at a young age, she chose to use her resources and social standing to alleviate the suffering of those who were less fortunate. Her approach was not only to provide material help, but also to offer comfort, hope and spiritual guidance.

A founder of the Company of the Daughters of Our Lady at Mount Calvary, St. Virginia created a community dedicated to the care and education of women and children in need. This work was not simply an act of charity, but a tangible manifestation of God’s mercy working through her. She showed a special concern for ensuring that those being cared for had not only food and shelter, but also opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.

In addition, St. Virginia’s life was marked by a deep faith and unwavering trust in God, even in times of difficulty. This faith guided her in her mission of service and enabled her to face challenges with courage and hope. Her ability to see Christ in the poor and suffering and to serve them with love was a clear reflection of her understanding of mercy as the heart of the Gospel.

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli reminds us that mercy is a call to action, an invitation to embody God’s love through concrete service to others. Her life is a shining example of how mercy can transform people’s lives and bring hope to a world marked by suffering and need.


Although she felt a religious vocation in her soul from an early age, Virginia Centurione failed to convince her parents that she had a predisposition for religious life, so at the age of fifteen she married Gaspare Bracelli, who belonged to a family also of distinguished tradition. It was a very unhappy marriage: Gaspare was a young man with many vices and died prematurely, exhausted by his excesses, only five years later.

Virginia had tried to lead him back to God and assisted him during his final illness. On the day of his death, Virginia took a vow of chastity and decided to spend the rest of her life raising her two small daughters and…


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