‘My Jesus’: Martyred Italian nun saw Christ in young people

roma vestizione 2 1606394133 Sr. Laura Mainetti’s vestition ceremony in 1959. / www.figliedellacroce.it.

A religious sister who knew Venerable Maria Laura Mainetti said the woman, who was murdered 20 years ago as part of a Satanic ritual, made the ordinary extraordinary by her love, and found joy in her service to young people, whom she called "my Jesus."

The 60-year-old Mainetti was stabbed to death by three teenage girls in the town of Chiavenna, Italy, in 2000. In May, Pope Francis declared Mainetti to be a martyr, killed "in hatred of the faith." She will be beatified on June 6, 2021, the 21st anniversary of her murder.

Mainetti was a sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross for more than 40 years, where she knew Sr. Beniamina Mariani, who is her biographer and the postulator of her beatification cause.

Mariani told ACI Stampa, CNA's Italian-language partner, that Mainetti "lived in humility, simplicity and joy the gift of herself to God and to her brothers and sisters."

The postulator described Mainetti's day as "a continuous relationship in prayer, at the beginning and at the end of the day and with those whom she called 'my Jesus': children, young people, people in difficulty."

In her biography of the slain religious sister, Mariani wrote that when she was among young people, Mainetti felt "at ease and loved to entertain them both in scheduled meetings and in casual ones."

Mariani shared the statements of two young students who knew Mainetti when they were guests of the Immaculate Institute, a residence for girls.

One wrote that "in her hands, the ordinary day-to-day became like GOLD because she LOVED it. She was attracted to Jesus because she saw him."

Another said: "In a terrible time when I had no family, she was the only person who loved me, looked after me ... she spent the nights beside my bed, while I was crying in despair, she never abandoned me, she believed in me."

Mariani said when Mainetti was young, her answer to a spiritual director's question about what she wanted to do with her life was "I want to make my life something beautiful for others." And the postulator confirmed that she really did this.

Sr. Mainetti was always smiling, Mariani said, noting that someone in Chiavenna used to call her "Sr. Smile."

"She was a happy woman!" she continued, adding that the sister's message to young people would be: "I am very happy, above all because every day I discover God's love for me, despite my limitations, and then I try to see it in the faces of my brothers and sisters whom I meet every day, with particular attention to the more disadvantaged or those in difficulty."

Mainetti was a "small, humble grain that silently turned into a vibrant tree, under whose branches many people, the most different, will find comfort," Mariani said.

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