Giuseppina Catanea

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Giuseppina Catanea
Born(1894-02-18)18 February 1894
Naples, Kingdom of Italy
Died 14 March 1948(1948-03-14) (aged 54)
Naples, Italy
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 1 June 2008, Naples Cathedral, Naples, Italy by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe
Feast 26 June
Attributes Discalced Carmelite habit

Blessed Giuseppina Catanea (18 February 1894 - 14 March 1948) was an Italian Roman Catholic professed member of the Discalced Carmelites and who later assumed the religious name of "Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified". She was born to noble parents from the Marquises Grimaldi and was known for her careful attention to the plight of the poor during her childhood. This intensified after she became a professed Carmelite in 1932 and held positions of leadership despite her failing health that led to her death. [1]

Beatification recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification.

Discalced Carmelites religious order

The Discalced Carmelites or Barefoot Carmelites is a Catholic mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. The order was established in 1593, pursuant to the reform of the Carmelite Order of the Ancient Observance by two Spanish saints, Saint Teresa of Ávila and Saint John of the Cross.


Her beatification received the approval of Pope Benedict XVI and her beatification was celebrated on 1 June 2008. However it was Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe who presided over the celebration on the behalf of the pope. [2]

Pope Benedict XVI 265th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI is a senior prelate of the Catholic Church who served as its head and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict's election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict chose to be known by the title "Pope Emeritus" upon his resignation.

Crescenzio Sepe Italian Catholic cardinal

Crescenzio Sepe is an Italian Cardinal and Archbishop of Naples. He was Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples from 2001 to 2006. Earlier, he served as a priest in Italy and a diplomat in Brazil.


Giuseppina Catanea was born in Naples in 1894 to noble parents from the Marquises Grimaldi. Her parents and other relatives often referred to her as "Pinella". [1]

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.

In her childhood she demonstrated a keen and tremendous affection for the plight of the poor and she would provide alms to them. In addition she also helped to care for two old women who were alone. [3] She was also noted for her strong devotion to the Eucharist and in the Blessed Mother and would recite rosaries whenever she had opportunities to do so. It was sometime later she felt that Jesus Christ was calling her to the Carmelite life and so she overcame the resistance of her parents and joined a Discalced Carmelite group on 10 March 1918 at Santa Maria ai Ponti Rossi. [1]

Eucharist Christian rite

The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.

Rosary Roman Catholic sacramental and Marian devotion to prayer

The Holy Rosary, also known as the Dominican Rosary, refers to a form of prayer used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. When used for the prayer, the word is usually capitalized, as is customary for other names of prayers, such as "the Lord's Prayer", and "the Hail Mary"; when referring to the beads, it is written with a lower-case initial letter.

Catanea was struck with angina attacks in 1912 and sometime after this contracted tuberculosis of the spine that left her confined to a wheelchair. However she owed her miraculous cure on 26 June 1922 to Saint Francis Xavier after two instances in which he appeared to her in a dream and a relic of his was brought to her cell. [2] In 1932 the Santa Maria ai Ponti Rossi group received approval from Pope Pius XI as being a canonical sect of the Discalced Carmelites and thus a legitimate cloister. [3] To that end she was clothed in the habit and assumed the new name of "Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified" upon her solemn profession on 6 August 1932 - the Feast of the Transfiguration. [1]

Angina Chest discomfort due to not enough blood flow to heart muscle

Angina, also known as angina pectoris, is chest pain or pressure, usually due to not enough blood flow to the heart muscle.

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Pope Pius XI 20th-century Catholic pope

Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was head of the Catholic Church from 6 February 1922 to his death in 1939. He was the first sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929. He took as his papal motto, "Pax Christi in Regno Christi," translated "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ."

In 1934 the Cardinal Archbishop of Naples Alessio Ascalesi appointed her as the sub-prioress of the Carmel and she later ascended to the position of vicar in 1945. On 29 September 1945 - in the first General Chapter of the Ponti Rossi Carmel - she was elected as the prioress and remained in that position until her death. [1] [3]

Alessio Ascalesi Catholic cardinal

Alessio Ascalesi was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Naples.

In 1943 she started to lose her sight and suffer from painful multiple sclerosis; at the age of 50 was forced to a wheelchair. [2] Before this she - at the behest of her spiritual director - compiled an account of her life and published her spiritual journal. [1] Catanea died on 14 March 1948 and her funeral was celebrated on the following 27 March. [3]


The beatification process opened in a diocesan process on 27 December 1948 and concluded its work - on the date of her birth - in 1952. The process had been granted the mission of compiling biographical details but also in collating documentation pertaining to her life that could attest to her cause. There were also witness testimonies that were also collected during this time as further evidence to be incorporated into the cause. Her writings were placed in the care of theologians who deemed them to be in line with the magisterium of the faith in a decree of approval in 1964.

These processes took place despite the fact that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints - under Pope Paul VI - did not grant their formal approval to the initiation of the cause until 5 April 1976 in a move that also accorded Catanea with the posthumous title of Servant of God. Once the approval had been granted a second process opened in 1977 and continued the work of the first process until its closure in 1980. Both processes were deemed to have completed their work according to the set criteria and were thus ratified on 18 March 1982.

Ratification of the diocesan processes allowed for the postulation to compile and submit the Positio to officials of the C.C.S. in Rome in 1985 for their own evaluation. It led to Pope John Paul II declaring Catanea to be Venerable on 3 January 1987 once he had acknowledged the fact that Catanea had lived a model Christian life of heroic virtue.

The process for a miracle attributed to her commenced in 2004 and concluded its work in 2005 in which it collated witness testimonies and all available medical documentation and evidence. Pope Benedict XVI approved the healing to be a legitimate miracle on 17 December 2007 in a move that would allow for her beatification to take place. Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe presided over the beatification on the behalf of the pontiff on 1 June 2008 in the Naples Cathedral.

The current postulator of the cause is the Discalced Carmelite Luigi Borriello.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Biographies of New Blesseds - 2008". EWTN. 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "Blessed Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Bl. Giuseppina Catanea (1894-1948)". Holy See. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.