The Family of Brigida
Brigida was born in the little sea-side town of Rapallo which was
part of the noble city of Genova Rapallo. Her parents were Nicolo Morello and Lavinia Borzese,both were noted for their goodness and prudence were also
and capable of governing their family well. They enjoyed the respect and esteem of
the people and had good financial standing. But one day they suffered a considerable
set back due to some misfortune and had to live through days of
hardship and want. They had 11 children: three boys and eight girls of whom Brigida
was the sixth in the order of birth-the central figure, not only in the natural
order but much more in the supernatural order of divine prediction and gifts of
The Birth of Brigida
She was born on 17th June, 1610 on the day which, that year happened to be
the Octave of the feast of ‘Corpus Domini’ in the parish of St. Michael,
not far from Rapallo. The birth was not accompanied by the usual labour pain and
the mother did not even need the assistance of a mid-wife. In fact, she had gone
to the Eucharistic procession and returning home had hardly changed her clothes.
This was believed to be very providential l in the given circumstances as there
was only a single mid-wife in the whole parish and she could not be called for this
Venerable Brigida of Jesus in the early years, as Prioress of the new foundation, writing the rules of the Congregation before the crucifix.
Desire for sanctity
The children of the Nicolo family often went to their paternal grand-uncle and aunt
who had holiday villa in St. Michael’s . This couple, having no children of their
own, entertained them in their home. Brigida was their favorite. The children
affectionately called them grand-father and grand–mother. The good old man was
very pious and devoted his time in reading and especially enjoyed reading the lives of saints which Brigida
used to listen very eagerly. Even at that tender age, she understood that to become a saint
was a beautiful thing and this roused in her a desire for sanctity beyond her age,
as though the lord was anticipating his action in her with special enlightenment,
which often happens with those who are destined to be models of sanctity.
Her great desire for sanctity right from her childhood, the vision she had at the
age of four of the beauty of heaven and the transitory of this world, her love for
the poor, zeal for souls, eagerness to practice every virtue, the great desire to
become a nun and a saint etc. singled her out as an extra-ordinary child.
Greatly favored by grace from her early childhood, she possessed in a high degree
the gifts of contemplation, prophecy and of miracles. Brigida Morello, a
name that has occupied a place in history. She was a mystic of the 17th century,
endowed with special gifts of mystical union with God . At that time women hardly
had any place in society. But this lady of vision overcame obstacles of all types.
Petty wars and Industrial revolts had played havoc, creating instability in families.
Women and children were the worst affected. Brigida could not be blind to the need
of the hour. Responding to the call with six other ladies, Brigida dedicated
herself to the cause of the education of the young girls. Thus was born the Congregation
of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate (UMI), at Piacenza, Italy on February 17th 1649.
The death of Mother Brigida
The Lord revealed her that within three months her earthly pilgrimage would be ended
and this increased her spiritual joy as proportionately increased her physical suffering.
The Lord also told her that she would have yet to suffer much and from then on new
pains were added to her each day so that within these months she had reached the
points of death many times.
Heaven found Mother ready for it and so the prayers of her daughters went unheeded.
So after a steadily increasing agony that lasted the whole night, with the confessor
and her daughters by her bed-side praying and recommending her soul to God, she
smiling at the crucifix, breathed forth her soul to god at 3.a.m. on Sunday the
3rd September 1649 amidst the tears of her daughters. She was sixty nine years
old at her death.
Beatification of Mother Brigida of Jesus Morello
She was beatified on 15th March 1998 by Pope JOHN PAUL II