Beatified Maria Gabriella of Unity

A nun of the Order of the Reformed Cistercian (Trappist Order)

Dorgali is one of the most extended Sardinian areas of the Island. Its territory stands out between a limpid and crystal sea of an unequalled pale blue, that makes the Gulf of Orosei one of the most beautiful places in the world.

It is here that Maria Sagheddu, then called Maù by the other nuns, was born on 17th March 1914 in a copious family of shepherds.

She early became orphan, she had to work for helping her family. Her interest for the Catholic Action was sudden and late: he was eighteen years old when she signed up in it.

She became meditative, discreet, smart, austere and resolute. Increased for her the spirit of prayer and meditation, highlighting her qualities of politeness, generosity and kindness towards other people.

The vice priest, Father Basilio Meloni, foreseeing her inclination to the religious dedication, supported her in a careful spiritual way advising her the Trappist as an order more similar to her sensitivity. Maria accepted with a lot of joy.

The Trappist, on feminine variation, represents a very particular order, composed of sacrifices, simplicity, work, dedication and prayer.

Mary thanked God and she was happy of her vocation. She chose the name of Maria Gabriella of Unity, because the divine Benevolence, sacrificed for our liberation, had to make men united for God. That inspired the next action by Maria Gabriella, who dedicated herself to the service of the Unity of Christian observant people.

She was the first beatified of the Italian Catholic Action as well as the first among the Sardinian young people. Her life seemed dominated by few essential elements: gratitude and being devoted to God for everything.

Her claustral test was very short. The night when she took the vote, she felt the disease symptoms that killed her after just fifteen months. But was exactly this that led her to the most obvious serenity and to the most intense peace. She used to say: "My life is worth nothing…I can offer it without problems".

She waited for death as an accomplishment of God’s will. It was on Sunday 23 April 1939 that Maria Gabriella finished her short life after a long agony.

Her example shocked a lot, as well as her words. Numerous were the conversions; lots of women imitated her choice and the Parish of Saint Caterina from Alessandria, a church frequented by her mother and by her family, was always a place fervent of spirituality. One of the other trappist nuns, Mother Placida Maria Silvestri, founded in Dorgali the trappist cloistered monastery of the Benedectine nuns “Mater Unitatis” in the district Saint Lucia.

As soon as took place the reconnaissance of the body of the Beatified Maria Gabriella of Unity, it was found unspoiled; now it stays in the chapel next to the Vitorchiano Monastery, where came the community of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, namely the Trappist Order devoted to the Rule by Saint Benedetto. «I do not ask God to free me from pain, but that he gives me the strength of suffering for his Benevolence everything he wanted to send me».


01 March 2016

Alessandra Carbognin
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