17 June 2009

Blessed Osanna of Mantua

18 JUNE 2009. Today we celebrate the memorial of Blessed Osanna of Mantua. The Dominican supplement to the Breviary tells us this:
Blessed Osanna Andreassi was born at Mantua in 1449 and received the habit of the Sisters of Penance of Saint Dominic as a young girl. With great wisdom she blended the practice of good works and pursuit of secular occupations with a life of contemplation. She enjoyed many extraordinary mystical graces during her life and many came to her for advice and consolation. She died on June 18, 1505.
Looking at other sources, it seems that Blessed Osanna had her first mystical experience at the age of five, like Catherine of Sienna a century before her. Both of Osanna's parents were from noble families. She was the eldest of many children, and had significant responsibility for the care of her younger siblings. When she died at the age of 56, Osanna was still caring for some of her siblings. Osanna's parents died during her childhood.

When Osanna was 18 she had a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who betrothed her to Christ, placing a ring on her finger. Although no ring was visible to the eye, she said that she could still always feel the ring on her hand. While Osanna's father wanted her to marry, she instead was called to join the Third Order of St. Dominic. In her late twenties, Osanna had additional visions of the pain of Christ's crucifixion and the sublimity of heaven. Osanna tried to attend local Dominican tertiary meetings, but they were scornful of her and rejected her as too outside the norm.

Blessed Osanna spent long hours in prayer and penance. Often Osanna would go into trances which alarmed those around her. While her father refused to have her learn to read of write, it appears she learned all the same.

After her parents died, Osanna continued to care for her younger siblings. In addition, Duke Frederick of Mantua asked Osanna to care for his wife and family while he was away on campaign. Becoming more than merely a maid or nanny, Osanna developed a deep relationship with the Duke's family and became a trusted friend. Throughout her life of service to the Duke's family and her own siblings, she managed to allot her time to her occupation, but still reserve long periods of time for prayer and penance.

At the age of 30, Blessed Osanna received the stigmata on her head, her feet, and on her side. However, her wounds did not bleed. Instead they appeared as red, intensely painful swellings, that were all the more painful on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Osanna was deeply distressed by the state of the Church under Pope Alexander VI. She prayed to Our Lady to deliver the Church from its crisis, but felt her prayers were left unheaded:
God ever kept motionless, with aspect and countenance of wrath, and he gave no reply to anyone who prayed: not to the Madonna, not to the apostles, not to my soul.
Near the end of her life, Blessed Osanna met and befriended a reformed Benedictine, Father Jerome. Osanna and Fr. Jerome shared many letters, and she often refers to him as her spiritual son, "conceived in the Blood of Christ." While known for her charity and cheerfulness to others, Osanna's letters detail a spiritual life that is marked by intense pain and suffering, lightened only by her mystical ecstasies in union with God.

Blessed Osanna was finally professed as a tertiary in the Third Order of St. Dominic in 1501, but died four years later.

Prayer of Blessed Osanna of Mantua

O God, giver of all good things,
you led Blessed Osanna to prefer the unsearchable riches of Christ
above all else and to so teach others.
By following her example and teaching
may we grow in knowledge of you
and faithfully live according to the light of the gospel.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment