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Hyacintha Mariscotti

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Saint Hyacintha Mariscotti
Saint Hyacintha Mariscotti
Born 1585, Vignanello, Italy
Died 30 January 1640, Viterbo
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Canonized 1807 by Pope Pius VII
Feast 30 January or 6 February, in Rome

Saint Hyacintha Mariscotti or Hyacintha of Mariscotti (in Italian Giacinta Marescotti) was a nun of the Third Order of St. Francis. She was born in 1585 of a noble family at Vignanello, near Viterbo in Italy, and died 30 January 1640 at Viterbo. Her feast is 30 January; in Rome, 6 February (Diarium Romanum).

Her parents were Marc' Antonio Mariscotti (Marius Scotus) and Ottavia Orsini. At baptism she received the name Clarice and in early youth was remarkable for piety, but, as she grew older, she became frivolous, which not even the almost-miraculous saving of her life at the age of 17 could change, nor her education at the Monastery of St. Bernardine at Viterbo, a religious community of Franciscan tertiary nuns, where an older sister had taken the veil.

At the age of 20 she set her heart upon marriage with the Marquess Cassizucchi, but was passed by in favour of a younger sister. Disappointed, she entered the monastery in Viterbo where she had been educated, receiving the name Hyacintha. She admitted later that she did this only to hide her chagrin and not to give up the luxuries of the world. She kept her own kitchen, wore a habit of the finest material, and received and paid visits at pleasure.

For ten years, she kept up this life, in defiance of her vows, but at the same time, retained a lively faith, was regular in her devotions, remained pure, always showed a great respect for the mysteries of religion, and had a tender devotion to the Virgin Mary. Due to a severe illness, the priest who was the confessor to the monastery went to her cell to bring her Holy Communion. Shocked by the display of luxuries he saw there, he admonished her to a closer observance of the way of life to which she had committed herself.

She saw the folly of the past and enacted a complete change in her life. She made a public confession of her faults in the refectory, discarded her costly garments, wore an old habit, went barefoot, frequently fasted on bread and water, chastised her body by vigils and severe scourging, and practised mortifications to such an extent that the decree of canonization considers the preservation of her life a continued miracle. During the outbreak of a plague in the city, she became noted for her devotion in nursing the sick. She went on to establish two confraternities, whose members were called Oblates of Mary or "Sacconi". One of these, similar to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, gathered alms for the convalescent, for the poor who were ashamed to beg, and for the care of prisoners; the other procured homes for the aged.

Her reputation for holiness was so great, that, after her death, her habit had to be replaced three times due to pieces being snipped off for relics by the people.

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This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.

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