This Sunday, we won’t just celebrate Fathers Day here.
Rather, we’ll participate in a special ceremony in which Venerable Cecilia Eusepi (1910-1928) of Nepi will be blessed or beatified. Right here in Nepi, 40 km North of Rome.
Cecilia’s Simple Life
Born to good and simple parents who raised a family of love, Cecilia is youngest of 11 children. Initially from the small village of Monte Romano, (also North of Rome) Cecilia moved to Nepi at age 5. After her father died, her uncle takes care of her mother and family, and brings them to Nepi to work on a farm in La Massa, just outside of town. Soon, Cecilia is entrusted to the nuns.
Cecilia was already most devout as a young girl. Barely a teenager, at age 13, she officially joined a monastery called the 3rd Order of the Servants of Mary. She had high hopes and plans to study in Rome and Pistoia and then Zara to become a missionary there.
She did go to Rome and Pistoia, however her missionary dreams were curbed by her poor health after three years. Intestinal tuberculosis made her returned at age 16 from the nuns in Pistoia back to Nepi, where she died here two years later. During these last years, she was visited often and by many who sought her council.
Cecilia and St. Theresa of Lisieux
Her strong devotion to Mother Mary and Jesus, as well as her being exemplary of operating in ‘little ways’, was noted by those in Rome.
During the period of her illness, at the behest of Father Roschini, Cecilia began writing a diary in May 1927 (finished September 1928) and autobiography, called “The Story of a Clown (storia di un giglio)”.
These two writings reveal her relationship with Jesus as well as Cecilia’s conviction of her own ‘nothingness’ in front of the Divine.
Cecilia has been likened to the French Saint Theresa of Lisieux who wrote the book ‘Story of a Soul (Autobiography) ‘.
Cecilia also felt personally connected to Saint Theresa. She had a vision of the saint in a dream, and she learned the date of her death. Her day of death was most unusually celebrated as a feast day.
Miracle by Cecilia Eusepe
Cecilia’s best known miracle was in 1959, when she responded to the call of her nephew, Adriano De Guidi, in Monte Romano.
By accident, his truck weighing over a ton rolled over the back of a man called Tommaso Ricci. When Adriano realized this, he called out : “Cecilia, help me. Cecilia help me – I’ve killed him!”
However, Ricci rolled out from under the truck unconscious, and remained unconscious for six minutes. Two friends took him home on a tractor. The local doctor came immediately and had him taken to the emergency room of the Tarquinia Hospital. From the time he regained consciousness and for four more days in the hospital he suffered enormous pain in his back. However, doctors treating him could find nothing serious and did not even take X-rays. I learned from a local that that man had seen a vision of a young girl who had told him that everything was going to be fine.
Also extra-ordinary is Cecilia’s complete devotion to God. Her writings represent the traditions of her Order and contain their life saving hopes for the future.
As you can read in my article ‘what makes a saint a saint’ a minimum of two important post-humus miracles are needed for blessed individuals to receives the title ‘saint’. While Cecilia seems to have just one official post-humus miracle, locals told me there are several other miracles attributed to Cecilia. E.g. In fact, one of the locals of Nepi told me of her own grandmother praying at the crypt of Cecilia Eusepi for her niece who had severe leukemia in 1980. The situation was so severe that the girl had already received her last sacraments. However, upon the grandmother’s prayer, the girl miraculously and completely recovered.
I have a strong feeling that upon beatification, Cecilia is going to help certain people around the world who request this, and quite a few new miracles will be reported in due course.
White lilies are the flowers associated with Cecilia, which represent both The Madonna and innocence.
Most befitting as she is known for her humility, abandonment as well as her love for singing songs of devotion.
Cecilia’s remains are in the San Tomoleo church in Nepi.
Cecilia was declared Venerable on June 1, 1987 by Pope Giovanni Paolo II. She will be declared Blessed in Nepi on June 17, 2012 in the afternoon. The ceremonial mass will be held by Cardinal Angelo Amato, who will come up from the Vatican with his delegation.
We are not sure if it will be televised. However, if permitted, I plan to take lots of photos and make a video of the beatification to post on this blog when done.
- What Makes a Saint a Saint
- Pope John Paul II Beatified
- Combat Worry with Sainty Help
- Mother Teresa. Goddess of Kindness. Saint of the Gutter.