St Magdalen de Pazzi came into the world in 1566 - a few decades after the zenith of the Renaissance. And she was born in Florence, the city hailed as a cultural and artistic epicenter. Her father was one of the wealthiest men of his time, and he was a highly placed aristocratic. He tried to marry his daughter off when she was 14, but before that, she had taken a vow to be a Spouse of Christ. Magdalen was very beautiful and could have had her pick of noblemen. 

Magdalen gave up a life of affluence and influence, and became a Carmelite nun. She entered Carmel because she was allowed to be a daily communicant; something that was not standard in religious life in the 1500s. She shared a convent with a very lovely nun, Sister Mary Benedicta, who greatly impressed Magdalen with her profound humility. She sought out mortification, and had her superior not kept a close watch on her, she would have done anything to humble herself. Mary Benedicta held up St. Alexius of Rome as her special patron; he who had dressed as a beggar to excoriate his ego. Like all truly humble people, Mary Benedicta was a joy to be with, and she was like a little child who greeted every chance at self-abasement as though it were a birthday cake. But she was informed by her mature faith, and knew she was humbling herself so as to be like her Spouse, Who said, "Learn from Me because I am meek and humble of heart". 

When death came, she was not long in agony, Mary Benedicta was only ill for a few hours before the Lord took her.  The day after she died, a Saturday, found Magdalen at Holy Mass and she was consumed in an ecstasy. She was given a vision of Mary Benedicta in her heavenly glory. Mary Benedicta had been awarded the gold star of charity, her fingers were filled with beautiful rings because of her faithfulness to her vows as a bride of Christ and the pains she took to make holy her smallest of acts. She was crowned like a monarch. She won this crown because she loved suffering in union with Christ. And she had a higher place in Heaven than a great number of other nuns. This all speaks to the utmost importance of humility, and in particular the love of humility. If pride is the root of all sin, then the opposite, is the root of all virtue. 

In 2019, I wrote a post on how Magdalen de Pazzi made 107 Communions to free her brother from Purgatory. This year, I'm trying to interlace my posts on souls who got a tough time of purgation with posts on those good souls who got very short stays in Purgatory, or who didn't go there at all. We can only hope that we are among those who have only hours in those flames. St Mary Benedicta, pray for us! 

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This post was informed by Fr. F.X. Schouppe's Purgatory, which you may buy here

The classic painting of St Magdalen de Pazzi was executed by Pedro de Moya. 


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