25 May is the feast day of Carmelite nun St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. She was born Catarina de Pazzi on 2 April 1566 in Florence into a pious, aristocratic family. She was attracted to prayer and solitude from an early age and resolved to become a nun.
At 16, she entered the Carmelite monastery of St Mary of the Angels in Florence, choosing this particular monastery because the nuns there received Holy Communion daily, a rare privilege at that time. She was given the name Sr Mary Magdalen and made her Profession of vows after only a year due to ill health – it was not thought that she would recover.
She was a mystic and experienced ecstasies and visions. This, however, is not the reason she was canonised. She was renowned for her virtue, common sense and great love of God. She had a deep longing for everyone to know the love of God and to love God; she also desired to see reform in the Church. Sr Mary Magdalen exercised several positions of responsibility in the convent, finally serving as superior from 1604 until she died on 25 May 1607 at the age of 41. The process for her beatification began only 3 years later. She was canonised by Pope Clement IX in 1669.
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