Monday, December 9, 2013


Our next child "saint" as we progress through Advent is VENERABLE ANTONIETTA MEO. She was born in 1930 in Italy and may become the youngest saint who is not a martyr ever canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Antonietta was raised in an upper middle class household in Rome as the younger daughter of Michele and Maria Meo. She was nicknamed "Nennolina". She attended Catholic schools and stood out as an active, charismatic little girl who led her playmates in all their games, even after she became ill. She was noted for her kindness. Her teachers said she was a child like other children, but stood out because of her personal charm and her sense of humor and the joyousness of her personality.

She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer, at the age of five after she fell and injured her knee. When her leg had to be amputated, she bore the ordeal "cheerfully." She was fitted with a heavy, artificial leg so she could keep playing with other children. Catholic theologians have called her a "mystic" because the six-year-old wrote "extraordinary" letters to Jesus Christ in the last months of her life that displayed understanding and actions beyond the norm for a child of her age. "Dear baby Jesus, you are holy, you are good," she wrote in one of the letters. "Help me, grant me your grace and give me back my leg. If you don't want to, then may your will be done."

At first she dictated letters to her mother; later she wrote poems and letters herself and left each at the foot of her crucifix.  She wrote or dictated more than 100 letters to Jesus or to the Virgin Mary, describing "holy visions" in many of them. After Mass, people sometimes saw her approach the tabernacle and say, "Jesus, come and play with me!"

Antonietta made her first Communion in December 1936. The people who were at the ceremony were deeply impressed, because the child was transfigured, in an ecstatic adoration of her Lord, which happened every time she received the Eucharist.
First Communion

A letter to Jesus
 The child viewed the loss of her leg as a sacrifice to Jesus for the conversion of sinners. "I am very happy that Jesus gave me this problem so that I may be his dearest one," she told her father, Michele, after her leg was amputated. "Pain is like fabric, the stronger it is, the more it's worth," she told her father. She told her mother: "When you feel pain, you have to keep quiet and offer it to Jesus for a sinner. Jesus suffered so much for us, but He hadn't committed any sin: He was God. How could we complain, we who are sinners and always offend him?"

She insisted on writing a last letter to Jesus a few days before her death, even though it was interrupted when she had to vomit. In it, she asked Jesus to take care of everyone she loved, and asked for strength to bear her pain. She finished the letter with the words "Your little girl sends you a lot of kisses." She told her mother when it was time for her to die. "In a few hours, I will die, but I will not suffer anymore, and you shouldn't cry. I should have lived a few days longer, but St. Theresa of the Child Jesus said, "it's enough!" After the child's death, her mother had a vision of Antonietta in a glorified state that reassured her that the child was now in heaven. 

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