Blessed Ludovica Albertoni (1473-1533)
 

    Ludovica Albertoni was born in Rome in 1473 by a noble family. Tradition has it that the family home should arise in the scope of the present parish church of St. Maria in Campitelli what is now the Chapel of the family Paluzzi-Albertoni. Orphaned of his father at the age of two years, she is entrusted to the care of the paternal aunts from whom he learned the rudiments of the Christian life and a cultural education worthy of his position. Bathed in grace and unparalleled beauty, Ludovica is admired and courted by many young people of the Roman nobility. But soon the family, in spite of her desire,  promised the young girl to the noble trasteverino James of Cetera. And just in the neighborhood of Trastevere, where will she spends most of her life, she was able to attend the church of San Francesco a Ripa approaching the Franciscan spirituality. Three daughters were born from the marriage.

Because of the sharp temperament of her husband marriage is turbulent, but  Ludovica lives with sacrifice and self-denial trusting in the grace of the sacrament of marriage. After twelve years of difficult cohabitation, due to the illness and death of her husband- in May 1506 - his brother Domenico, administrator of the estate, does not respect the right of succession in favor of Ludovica and his daughters, thus opening a long and painful controversy. The young, oblivious of his fragile condition of widow, fights valiantly because the law is applied without delay. Acquitted every family duty, after dividing the assets among the daughters, Ludovica embraces the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis and spends the rest of her life in the care of the poor. "In the past I was more than my husband and myself - she says - so I could dedicate myself to Thee, O Jesus now living all to myself, I leave to be mine to be all yours."

    The guide in his spiritual journey, the Friars Minor of San Francesco a Ripa that, in those years engaged in a movement of return to the origins of the Franciscan life, which would have been much benefit to the whole Church.

    Ludovica embraces herself "Lady Poverty", mystical wife of Francis of Assisi, and, relinquishing any privilege and wealth of his social status, gives everything to the poor and shares the hardships in pursuit of the Gospel of Christ. Her extraordinary commitment to the girls in trouble, for which strove bravely enough to get her to the road and marginalization, teaching them an honest job and elevating culturally. Strives to alleviate the suffering of the Roman people tried by the tremendous lot lansquenet in 1527. On that occasion is called the "mother of the poor". In the sequel of Franciscan spirituality and thanks to daily prayer, Ludovica fails to fulfill its extraordinary mission as a Christian and Roman town. In this regard, often repeats: "Prayer is a school of life, where one learns the doctrine that Jesus taught and that men did not intend to." In his busy life, Ludovica has been a constant reference for civil society as well as to the prelates of the Roman Church.

    In December, 1532, Ludovica, already ill for some time, gets worse: the news spread among the people she so loved and who so loves. Friends and relatives are the particularly close, but when she comes closest to the end, most she wants to be alone. Her only companion is the Crucified One who holds in her hands. Relying on the Blessed Virgin took leave from this world with the same words of Jesus: "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit." It is the dusk of 31 January 1533. In compliance with her wishes, she will be buried in the Chapel of St. Anne in the Church of San Francesco a Ripa.

    Since then the Roman people continuously tributes to his great compatriot a cult devotee: October 13, 1606 the Roman Senate, "taking into account the Holiness and the outstanding achievements of the Blessed Ludovica," decreed "that each year on his feast day is ... offers a chalice and four torches to the Church of San Francesco in Trastevere. " In 1625 the city authorities recognize Ludovica Patroness of Rome, choosing January 31 as festive day for the Court Capitoline. From 1645 his portrait dwells in the Palatine Chapel of the Conservatives among the Patrons of the City. In 1675, following the beatification, his remains will be transferred to the monumental altar built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

    Today the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni is also Patron of the Secular Franciscan Orden in Rome.