Clelia Barbieri was born to Giuseppe Barbieri and Giacinta Nannettil on February 13, 1847 in Budrie, a village in the outskirts of Bologna, Italy. From an early age, her mother taught Clelia to love God, placing in her heart the desire for sanctity. When she was just eight, she lost her father to cholera.

From the day of her First Communion at the age of 11, the crucifix and Our Lady of Sorrows inspired her saintly soul. She was far more mature than her age. She worked with joy and love, praying and thinking of God at all times and even speaking of Him to her companions. Clelia lived in charity, and fervent faith burned inside her, and she felt that she “must go” to give herself to all of God’s poor.

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By Linu Deepak