Showing posts with label 1660. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1660. Show all posts

27 December 2018

Saint Veronica Giuliani

Life of compassionate nun is still inspiring others

Veronica Giuliani was received into a monastery at the age of 17
Veronica Giuliani was received into a
monastery at the age of 17
Nun and mystic Veronica Giuliani was born on this day in 1660 in Mercatello sul Metauro in the Duchy of Urbino.

After she had spent her whole life devoted to Christ, the marks of the crown of thorns appeared on her forehead and the signs of his five wounds on her body. She was subjected to a rigorous testing of her experience by her bishop but, after he decided the phenomena were authentic, he allowed her to return to normal convent life.

The nun was made a saint by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839, more than 100 years after her death.

Veronica was born Orsola Giuliani, the youngest of seven sisters. By the time she was three years old she was demonstrating compassion for the poor, often giving away her own food and clothes.

When her father decided she was old enough to marry, she pleaded with him to be allowed to choose a different way of life and, at the age of 17, in 1677 she was received into the monastery of the Capuchin Poor Clares in Città di Castello in Umbria.

She took the name of Veronica and lived as a sister in the convent for the next 50 years.

A painting by an unidentified artist of Veronica receiving the stigmata
A painting by an unidentified artist
of Veronica receiving the stigmata
Sister Veronica was made novice mistress at the age of 34 and abbess at the age of 55. She improved the life of her fellow nuns by having water piped into the convent as until then they had no supply of fresh water.

When the marks of the stigmata appeared on her head and body, Veronica’s bishop removed her from ordinary convent life and kept her under constant observation. It was only when he was satisfied the marks were authentic that he allowed her back into the convent to continue her service.

Veronica died in 1727, aged 66, at Città di Castello. After her death a mark representing the cross was allegedly found on her body near her heart. She was beatified by Pope Pius VII in 1804 and canonised by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.

In 1994, a Lebanese man came across her writings and was inspired to found a new religious order. Banners throughout the country proclaimed ‘A Saint rises up in Lebanon’ to herald the first church outside Italy dedicated to Saint Veronica Giuliani. It was consecrated on 9 July 2016, the date of Saint Veronica’s annual feast day.

The statue of  Saint Veronica in the village of Mercatello sul Matauro
The statue in the village
of Mercatello sul Matauro
Travel tip:

There is a statue of Saint Veronica in the village of Mercatello sul Metauro, her place of birth, which is about 50km (31 miles) south of Pesaro in the Marche region.  Mercatello’s Gothic Church of Saint Francis dates back to the 13th century and has a fine collection of paintings from the 12th to the 17th centuries.

Città di Castello's Capuchin Monastery, where Veronica Giuliani was resident for 50 years, is in Via XI Settembre
Città di Castello's Capuchin Monastery, where Veronica
Giuliani was resident for 50 years, is in Via XI Settembre
Travel tip:

The Capuchin Monastery in Via XI Settembre in Città di Castello is now named after Veronica Giuliani. The body of the saint lies inside an urn under the main altar of the church, which is named after Saint Martin of Tours and dates back to 1208. The church is open to the public from 6.30 to 12.30 and from 3.30 to 6.30 pm each day. A museum has been established on one side of the monastery’s cloister to offer an insight into the life of Saint Veronica and to house her relics.

More reading:

How San Leonardo da Porto Maurizio advanced the spread of religion

The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

The murdered nurse who was made a saint

Also on this day:

1888: The birth of operatic tenor Tito Schipa

1983: Pope John Paul II visits his would-be killer in prison

1985: Terrorists attack Fiumicino airport


2 May 2016

Alessandro Scarlatti - composer

Prolific opera composer was ahead of his time

Baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti was born on this day in 1660 in Palermo.

Portrait of Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti
He is considered to be the founder of the Neapolitan School of opera, from which modern opera developed, and his two sons, Domenico and Pietro Filippo, also went on to become composers.

Scarlatti is believed to have been a pupil of Giacomo Carissimi in Rome. When his opera Gli equivoci nel sembiante was produced in the city he gained the support of Queen Christina of Sweden, an enthusiastic patron of the arts who had taken up residence there. He became her maestro di cappella and joined the Arcadian Academy she had founded.

Along with composers Bernardo Pasquini and Arcangelo Corelli, he regularly visited her home to perform music he had dedicated to her.

In 1684 Scarlatti became maestro di cappella to the royal family in Naples and produced a series of operas and music for state occasions for them.

Scarlatti also enjoyed the patronage of Ferdinando de' Medici and composed operas for his private theatre near Florence. He was also maestro di cappella for Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni who procured him a post at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

It was in Rome that Scarlatti produced some of his best operas and church music but he eventually retired to live in Naples where he died in 1725.

Scarlatti’s music formed an important link between the early Italian Baroque vocal style of the 17th century and the classical school of the 18th century and anticipated the work of later composers such as Mozart and Schubert.

Il Mitridate Eupatore, composed for production during the Carnival in Venice in 1707, is thought to be his masterpiece. He also wrote hundreds of chamber cantatas for a solo voice.

Photo of the Palazzo Farnese
The Palazzo Farnese is now the home of the French
Embassy in Campo De' Fiori in Rome
Travel tip:

Palazzo Farnese, where Scarlatti was a guest of Queen Christina of Sweden at gatherings of the Arcadian Academy, is in Piazza Farnese in the Campo De’ Fiori area of Rome. It is now being used as the French Embassy. Queen Christina was given permission to lodge in this important Renaissance building by Pope Alexander VII because when she first came to live in Rome it was standing empty, following the death of Cardinal Odoardo Farnese.

Travel tip:

Palermo, where Alessandro Scarlatti was born, is the capital of Sicily. It is famous for its history, culture, architecture, food and wine. It has examples of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches and palaces. Palazzo dei Normanni, a marvellous example of Norman architecture, is the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. The Teatro Massimo, the biggest theatre in Italy, has staged operas starring Enrico Caruso.

More reading:

Why Arcangelo Corelli was a major influence on the development of music

Bernardo Pasquini's life as opera composer to a queen

Giovanni Borelli, the 17th century Neapolitan physiologist who was first to explain movement

Also on this day: 

1913: The birth of Maserati designer Pietro Frua

1930: The birth of radical politician and campaigner Marco Pannella

(Photo of Palazzo Farnese by Myrabella CC BY-SA 3.0)