St. Geltrude Comensoli: Making Room for God in Modern Life

geltrude_comensoli_600x450I haven’t seen anything that suggests that Geltrude Comensoli (1847-1903) knew or was personally familiar with Don Tadini, but it would not be surprising to find that they at least knew about each other’s work during their lives.  That’s because Comensoli was also from the Brescia region of Italy, doing very similar work at almost exactly the same time.  Tadini was only a year older than Comensoli.  As I noted below, he was very concerned about the situation of factory workers and  the impact of the Industrial Revolution on their lives, especially women, and he started an order in 1900 dedicated to ministering to them. 

Geltrude Comensoli had been a very pious kid, with a strong devotion to the Eucharist.  She joined a convent when she was 15 years old, only to have to leave soon afterwards because of illness.  She became a domestic servant to help support her family, all the while maintaining a very strong prayer life and involving herself in the religious education of the children in her parish. 

When she was 33 years old, she found herself in Rome, traveling with wealthy family for whom she worked as a servant, was present for an audience with Pope Leo XIII, and was actually able to speak to him.  She told the Pope that she wanted to start a religious community devoted to Eucharistic adoration.  Pope Leo suggested she consider that she include the education of young women who worked in factories as part of her community’s mission.  Her new order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (known as the Sacramentine Sisters), was born two years later. 

(If find this very interesting because a brief meeting with Pope Leo XIII changed the direction of the American St. Katherine Drexel’s life in a very similiar way.   Not only that, but Drexel chose the very same name for her own  new order she was founding in the United States at almost exactly the same time.  And careful — there’s also an unrelated order, founded in France much earlier, known as the Sacramentine Nuns that’s present in the United States.) 

Geltrude’s order worked hard to help people adjust to the newly industrialized society in a way that included making time for prayer, for God, in their lives.  In a Zenit news article, the postulator of the cause said, “The sisters committed themselves to seeing that careers would not be a risk to the salvation of the soul and would not lead to the abandonment and detriment of those supernatural values that belonged to the Christian and social fabric of Italy at that time.”

She died February 18, 1903. 

There’s a very interesting — even beautiful — Zenit article reporting the miracle played an important role in the cause of Mother Geltrude. 

The Sacramentine Sisters are present today in various countries of Europe, Africa, and South America.  Here’s the website of a boarding school in Turin, Italy, named after her and run by her sisters.


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