On January 13, 1672, Lucy Filippini was born in Corneto Tarquinia. A few months later, on December 22nd, Lucy lost her Mother, the noblewoman Maddalena Picchi Falzacappa.
On May 31, 1679, Filippo Filippini died. Lucy was only seven years old: she already demonstrated a big heart, a great capacity for reflection and a quick intuition.
The need for tenderness in Lucy expresses itself in her devotion to the Mother of Heaven, in docility towards the relatives who housed and educated her.
A Father’s Invitation
Lucy is in the fullness of adolescence at 16 years of age when she meets Cardinal Marc Anthony Barbarigo, Bishop of Montefiascone and Corneto. She expressed to him her desire to consecrate herself to God.
At Montefiascone, she spent some years as a guest at the Monastery of St. Clare, where she completed her formation.
In such recollection, her soul permitted itself to be always permeated by the love of God and of souls and she turned herself over to a total donation of self.
At the Helm
Lucy, gifted with lively intelligence, with exceptional practical sense, with prudence, with faith, receives from the Cardinal the charge of directing theschools just instituted.
Foreseeing the difficulties of the new ministry, she hesitates to accept. But when the light of Christ floods her soul and makes her understand the importance of the schools for the healing and elevation of the people, then she will accept without reservation and will live totally the mission of Teacher. Lucy was only 20 years old.
The great Adventure
Lucy, consumed with love of God, dares all adventures and attempts every risk for souls. In her school, she alternates lessons, songs, prayers and work. One spins and one weaves: work is considered a primary component of human-social formation of the young. Often it was necessary to comfort, to help sick persons in their own homes or in the hospitals.
She did not neglect to visit the schools that she founded in order to encourage them, sustain them, and to exhort the Maestre and students. Her travels were difficult, yet always done smiling, praising God.
Missionary on the Streets of Italy
Lucy invites the mothers for prayer, for spiritual reading and meditation. Many respond quiskly. She gave the Spiritual Exercises to the young and to the women because the superficiality of the times often made them inattentive to the needs of the Spirit. Motivated by a strong missionary drive, Lucy goes in searche of “lost” persons. With Crucifix in hand, she travels through towns and cities, announcing the love of Christ and the beauty of virtue. Her words disturb and convert people.
Attentive and generous to others’ needs, she often forgets herself. To her sister who often sent her personal gifts, Lucy usually responded smiling: “My good sister, I have sent all to Paradise.”
Urged by the love of Christ, Lucy, with a maternal delicacy and untiring care, goes in search of “lost” women and has the joy of returning them to Christ. For one who does not believe, she prays and works courageously.
In her affectionate dialogue, she says one day to someone: “My son, how much joy you will give Heaven with your conversion!…”
A Rich Personality
What was Lucy like?
“Serene, youthful, through the reflection of grace which illuminated her face, for the warmth which she knew to instill in her eloquent message…”
What was her character?
Sensitive to the difficulties of a very troubled epoch in the history of Italy, especially in the Lazio region, she reached out to the sufferings of the poor people, showing understanding and organizational ability in creating and directing new activities.
Lucy moves without a “roadmap” to indicate to her the path; she continues through struggles on the unpredictable road… full of faith in Divine Providence. Her action has the tone of strong and unmistakable love: the love of God. Lucy loves; for this, her soul praises and works in Him who accomplishes “great things.”
Charity characterizes her life, her attitudes, her daily contacts.
An exquisite gentleness exudes from her being… She welcomes the young, the adults, the humble and the great of her time, the poor and the nobility with the same affability.
Friendship for Lucy is a gift: the Roman princesses Altieri will remain always present in her gentle and knowing soul:
“I, meanwhile, will never miss a chance to recommend to the Lord your Excellency and your house and Princess Pallavicini…”
“It seems to me I am not able to stay without writing to my dear Princess whom I always carry in my heart because of your great goodness and I pray to the Lord to always give you a more strong and fervent spirit… I pray for all your family…” (from a letter to Princess Altieri).
“Jesus who can, will give all, both for the soul and for the body. He gives us all that He knows is necessary for always serving Him more and for living Him more” .
The inclination to contemplation does not distract her from her environment, from people, but immerses her all the more in the living “fabric” of people. Profoundly human, she is attentive, delicate and generous even with those who are undeserving.
Like the grain that dies..
Prudence and Lucy Filippini’s ability succeeds to consolidate the work, even when unfaithful administrators fight her with their more disloyal weapons and reduce the schools to the edge of a precipice.
Lucy underwent bitter days of persecution and of abandonment after the death of Cardinal Barbarigo; she alone led the schools continuing to struggle for their threatened survival.
A malignant tumor attacked her body. On March 25, 1732, the feast of the Annunciation, while the Cathedral of Montefiascone’s bells rang out the “Ave Maris Stella”, she died peacefully. With Lucy, we remember today the Maestre Pie sho have continued her journey and faithfully hand down her message to us.