These next two Saints to be I found on the site of the monks of Silverstream in Ireland. In reading snatches of their lives, I find great similarities between them and St. Faustina. The Lord seems to give the same message to those whom He loves- a message so needed in our sad world today.
SERVANT of GOD SISTER BENIGNA CONSOLATA FERRERO was born in
Suffering entered her life at an early age. As an infant, her afflictions grew daily. Her health continued to decline until Signora Ferrero, perceiving this sad turn of events, took her child to the
she knelt before an altar of Our Lady and invoked the powerful intercession of
the Immaculate Virgin for the welfare of her beloved daughter. Not long
afterwards, little Maria was restored to full health. Church
of St. Dalmazzo
From an early age, Maria exhibited clear signs of a great love for God. She was always willing to help her neighbor, and while she was indulgent with others, always seeking to excuse their faults, she never let herself become attached to the complements that she received.
Maria’s great pleasure as a child was to spend time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. On one occasion, her family passed their summer holiday in the country-side, far from any Catholic Church. During this time, Maria had to content herself with frequent acts of spiritual communion, which Our Lord would later encourage, with the words: “I am in the Sacrament of My love for My creatures, and they make so little account of it! O do thou at least, My Benigna, make as many spiritual communions as possible to supply for the Sacramental Communions which are not made. One every quarter of an hour is not enough. Make them shorter, but more numerous. My Benigna, seek to draw souls to receive Me in Holy Communion.”
In one of her early manuscripts, Maria writes, "One day, my soul felt sweetly attracted and I heard the voice of my God; it was so sweet that I scarcely dared to make a movement for fear of hearing it no longer, and while listening I wept with emotion. Jesus told me that He would give Himself to me, that He would be to me as a mother to a child, and that He would furnish me occasions of suffering for Him." She entered the Visitation Order in Como, Italy, in 1907.
The Lord revealed to her his insatiable thirst for souls, and promised to grant her a great thirst for the conversion of sinners. Maria expressed the desires of her heart in the following words: “O Jesus, do with me all that Thou wilt; I place in Thee all my confidence and I abandon myself to Thy loving cares; henceforth I wish to serve Thee in peace, joy and love, as Thou Thyself hast taught me; but let me implore Thee to grant me the grace of knowing Thee that I may love Thee with all my heart, and of knowing myself that I may humble myself profoundly." Our Lord responded graciously to Maria’s firm resolution to become a saint. He said to her: "Thou hast taken the resolution to become holy: this is well and thou must not fail; but it is not to an ordinary sanctity thou art called; thou must aim at the most sublime perfection."
Like many Saints and victim souls, Sr. Benigna was chosen, not because of her strength or virtue, but because of her weakness and misery:
“I have chosen thee because thou art wretched and miserable, in order that thou mayst attribute nothing to thyself and know that all good comes from God.” Jesus dictated the “Decalogue of Mercy” to Sr. Benigna, which contain perhaps some of the most tender and encouraging words ever recorded: “The more evil the state to which the soul is reduced by the sins of the past, by her disorders and passions, so much the more pleased is Love to have so much to accomplish in her. Souls the most miserable, the most weak, the most infirm, are the best clients of Love, the most desired by the divine Mercy. These souls, thus become, as it were, the favorite of God, will, like so many living monuments, exalt and magnify the multitude of His mercies, sending up to God the reflections of living light, His own light, which they have received from Him during their mortal life- the multitude of kindnesses God has made use of to conduct them to eternal salvation. These souls will shine like previous gems, and will form the crown of the Divine Mercy.”
Jesus begged for the love of souls, including those who wound Him most. Even the most shameful sinners should be inspired with confidence in God’s mercy after reading the tender revelations given to Sr. Benigna Consolata. Jesus continually made known to her that He yearns to save even the most sordid sinners. He invites all sinners to bathe their souls in His Precious Blood, which was shed for our salvation: "Provided I find good will in a soul, I am never weary of looking upon its miseries- My love is fed by consuming miseries; the soul that brings Me the most, if the heart is contrite and humble, is the one that pleases Me most, because she gives Me an opportunity of exercising more fully My office of Savior. But what I wish particularly to say to thee, My Benigna, is that the soul ought never to be afraid of God, because God is all-merciful; the greatest pleasure of the Sacred Heart of thy Jesus is to lead to His Father numerous sinners; they are My glory and My jewels… Sins may be enormous and numerous; but provided that the soul returns to Me, I am always ready to pardon all, to forget all.”
Sr. Benigna Consolata died in 1916. O' Jesus, True Charity and God of Love, Goodness without limits: I, a miserable sinner, in order to honor Thy incomparable mercy, offer, give and abandon myself forever to the love of Thy most amiable and tender Heart.