Blessed Liduina Meneguzzi, The “Ecumenical Flame”, Bearer of Hope and Love
Today we celebrate the life of Blessed Liduina Meneguzzi (1901-1941).
Elisa Angela Meneguzzi was born on September 12, 1901 to a humble and devout Italian farming family . A pious youth, she spent hours in prayer, attended daily Mass, and taught catechism.
At the age of twenty-four, she gave herself totally to God, when she entered the Salesian convent in Padova, taking the name Liduina. She worked as a housekeeper, a nurse, and a sacristan in a girls’ boarding school before being sent to Africa as a missionary in 1937.
Sr. Liduina worked at a hospital in Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia, a large, cosmopolitan city with people of many backgrounds, races and religions including: Catholics, Copts, Muslims and native pagans. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the hospital was taken over by the Italian military and she devotedly cared for the wounded. When the city was bombed, she worked in the streets, carrying the wounded to shelter, baptizing dying children, leading dying Christians through acts of contrition. Through her saintly witness, Sr. Liduina attracted many to the Catholic faith. For this reason she was given the name, the “ecumenical flame.”
She died of cancer at the age of 40 on December 2, 1941 in the hospital of Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia where she spent her last years . Her body was returned to the motherhouse of her congregation in 1961. She was beatified on October 20, 2002 by Pope John Paul II.
The message that the Blessed Liduina Meneguzzi nowadays brings to the Church and to the world is that of hope and love. A kind of hope which redeems men both from their selfishness and from aberrant forms of violence. A kind of love which is an urge to solidarity, to sharing out and to service, following the example of Christ who came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life to save all of us.
~ From the Decree on the Heroicness of the Virtues of Blessed Liduina by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
“I’ve never seen someone dying with such joy and bliss.”
~ The physician who attended Liduina