Saint of the Day – 9 June – Blessed Anna Maria Taigi O.SS.T. (1769-1837) Secular Religious of The Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives – known as the Trinitarians, Married laywoma, Mystic. Born on 29 May 1769 at Siena, Italy as Anna Maria Gianetti and died on 9 June 1837 at Rome, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Housewives,Mothers,Victims of verbal abuse, Victims of spousal abuse,Families,Trinitarian tertiaries. Also known as – Anne Marie Gesualda Antonia Taigi, Anna Maria Taigi, Anne Marie Gianetti. Her body incorrupt.
Hailing from Siena, Italy, Taigi’s family moved to Rome when her pharmacist father needed to find employment after financial ruin. Poverty, although unchosen then, later in life would be embraced as one of her defining characteristics.
Unsure of her vocation as a young woman, Taigi considered religious life but because she was too ambivalent to it, a confessor suggested marriage. Her future husband’s path crossed hers while both were engaged in service work in the homes of Italian nobility. Domenico Taigi was a rough and tumble man, prone to making life difficult for those around him in word and deed. And his wife got the brunt of his temperament. But Taigi softened him, showing love when least expected. A hardened heart, almost assuredly will melt over time from love’s gentleness — such as an unwarranted smile. Taigi models how one takes seriously the marriage vows as a means to one’s own sanctification and growth in holiness.
This self-denial for which Anna Maria became known was not always what defined her. In the early years of their marriage, her life was marked by vanity and luxury. It has been disputed that she engaged in an adulterous affair.
But a conversion experience led Anna Maria to embrace a Gospel way of life that came to define her life. Baptised the day after her birth, Anna Maria’s faith had not blossomed until after her marriage. A chance encounter with a Priest in S. Peter’s Square prompted her to subsequently make a fruitful Confession, in which she renounced the life of worldly priorities which she had been living. That night, Taigi had been moved by an inner voice that said God desired more from her. Her husband described years later, how, as a first step in this new life, his wife “took to wearing the plainest possible clothes,” noting ,that, in obedience to her spouse, she asked for his consent. He gave it completely, he said, for he saw “she was entirely given to the love of God.”
All this had kept her from giving her all to Christ, which took place while in prayer before a Crucifix. She heard Jesus ask from the Cross, “What is your wish? To follow Jesus poor and naked and stripped of all, or to follow Him in His triumph and glory? Which do you choose?” To which she replied, “I embrace the Cross of my Jesus. I will carry it like Him in pain and ignominy. I wait at His hands, triumph and glory in the hereafter.”
Single-minded dedication to Christ, defined the rest of Anna Maria’s life, which was a constant display of the closeness to Christ she experienced in the Sacrament. She worked to serve Christ in the sick and poor as a Third Order Trinitarian ,while keeping up with the duties of a wife and mother. A gift of prophesying the future was the spiritual fruit of visions and ecstasies — all the more incredible that this came to an ordinary housewife, not the likes of a cloistered nun. Her prophetic abilities caused her to become sought after by many notable figures, including Napoleon’s Mother and the Pope. Anna Maria became acquainted with Cardinal Luigi Ercolani, and Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti ,who would become Blessed Pope Pius IX. Pope Pius VII often asked St Vincent Strambi , the Priest who had assisted her in her convesion, how she was doing and would send his blessings to her. Pope Leo XII and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Menocchio both held her in high esteem Anna Maria composed a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pedicini took this prayer to Pius VII who, in a rescript on 6 March 1809, granted an indulgence. For 100 days, those who recited it, a plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions.
Anna Maria attended the 1825 Jubilee which Pope Leo XII had summoned. She knew of the latter Pope’s ill health. Before he died, in 1829, she saw the morning sun and prayed for him. She heard a heavenly voice say, “Arise and pray. My Vicar is on the point of coming to render an account to Me.” Pope Leo’s successor Pope Pius VIII lived in the shadow of ill health. Anna Maria foresaw his death and prayed for his soul as she did with his predecessor. She had predicted the pontificate of Pius VIII would be a short one.
She successfully foresaw that Cardinal Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari would be elected as Pope Gregory XVI. Before Pius VIII died, Anna Maria went to San Paolo fuori le Mura. When Cappellari arrived she fixed her eyes on him When she was asked why she was doing this, she frankly responded, “That is the future Pope.”
On 24 October 1836, Anna Maria fell ill. She was confined to her bed and would never rise again. On 2 June 1837, her fever slightly declined but a few days later, her fever rose again. On 5 June she bid farewell to those who visited her bedside. On 8 June she received the last rites of Extreme Unction.
Ana Maria received the Viaticum and the Anointing of the Sick from the local curate. On 9 June 1837, at 4 a.m., she died. Pedicini sent a letter at once to Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi to inform him of her death. Anna Maria’s remains were exposed until 11 June in the Church of Santa Maria in Via Lata. She was buried at Campo Verano where, on the orders of Pope Gregory XVI, her remains were enclosed in a leaden sepulcher with seals affixed to it. Cardinal Odescalchi asked her Confessor to compile all documents so that her biography could be published.
Upon her death in 1837, the future St Vincent Pallotti praised her holiness. This was reiterated by Venerable Bernardo Clausi who said, “If she is not in heaven, there is no room there for anybody.” She was Beatified by Pope Benedict XV on 30 May 1920.