The life of Hyacintha Mariscotti, a significant figure in religious history, began in 1585 in the noble Mariscotti family in Vignanello, near Viterbo, Italy. She was born to Marc’ Antonio Mariscotti (Marius Scotus) and Ottavia Orsini and baptized as Clarice. As a young girl, Clarice was noted for her piety, but as she grew into her teenage years, she became more interested in worldly pleasures. This shift in her demeanor remained unaltered despite a near-death experience at 17 and her education at the Convent of St. Bernardine in Viterbo, where her older sister had become a nun.

At 20, Clarice faced a major disappointment when the man she desired to marry, the Marquess Cassizucchi, chose her younger sister instead. This rejection left her disheartened, leading her to join the convent at St. Bernardine as a way of hiding her distress rather than for spiritual reasons. Even as a nun, she initially continued a life of comfort and luxury, thanks to the provisions from her father.

For a decade, Clarice lived in stark contrast to her religious vows, indulging in luxury and neglecting the essence of her commitment. Despite this, she maintained a strong faith, devotion to religious practices, purity, and a deep respect for the mysteries of her faith, particularly towards the Blessed Virgin.

A turning point in her life came when she fell seriously ill. The guidance and encouragement of her confessor during this time led to a profound spiritual awakening. Embracing a life of penance, she publicly confessed her past faults, adopted a life of austerity, and began practicing severe mortifications, to the extent that her survival was deemed miraculous.

Her renewed faith deepened her devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Infant Jesus, the Blessed Eucharist, and the sufferings of Christ. Hyacintha, as she was now known, became known for her miraculous works, prophetic gifts, and ability to discern others’ thoughts. Her charitable works were especially notable during an epidemic in Viterbo, where she selflessly cared for the sick. She also founded two confraternities, the Oblates of Mary or Sacconi, focusing on aiding the convalescent, the discreetly poor, prisoners, and providing homes for the elderly.

Despite her holy life, Hyacintha remained humble, viewing herself with great contempt. Her death on January 30, 1640, brought widespread mourning in Viterbo. Recognized for her spiritual transformation and service, she was beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726 and canonized by Pope Pius VII on May 14, 1807. Her feast day is celebrated on January 30 and in Rome on February 6, as noted in the Diarium Romanum.

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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