If you not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more
Marianna Caiani was born on November 12th 1863 in Poggio a Caiano and baptized the following day.
Her father Jacopo
was a blacksmith at the De Medici’s royal Villa. Her mother, Luisa Fortini, a strongly devout and very hard-working woman with a gentle heart.
While still in her prime of life her heart, already weakened from the death of her little brother Gustavo, suffered another very bad blow in 1884 with the unexpected death of her father. Her family deeply changed and Marianna started helping her little brother Osea selling salt and tobacco contributing, this way, to the support of her family. However, the most significant affliction came in 1890 when also her mother died. Now she was all alone; alone in front of herself, of her life and of God. It will be right in this loneliness, nearly a “desert”, that she’ll find her vocation.
a new important friendship with Maria Fiaschi – also from Poggio a Caiano and met while nursing an ill aunt. From the very beginning they made a fundamental agreement – to completely devote themselves to God. While the haze in Marianna’s heart started vanishing more and more she kept on staying in her hometown, among her people, taking their needs upon her shoulders and silently placing herself at their service. During this journey Marianna surrounded herself with genuine friendships that would help her understand God’s plan for her. She was very close to two confession-foundresses: Blessed Teresa Mary of the Cross and Blessed Elena Guerra.
Inspired by these examples Marianna joined the Convent of the Benedictine nuns in Pistoia but she soon realized that she wasn’t made for the enclosed life. God would bring her back to her people to bear a different witness of faith and with years she would develop a bright “contemplation through action”.
She went back to Poggio a Caiano and together with Maria Fiaschi she opened a small school for the children of their hometown. She didn’t have a specific plan. Her only aim was to devote herself to God and to her neighbour – the school was the proof of this humble and unpretentious choice.
Marianna and two other companions of hers started living together in a few rooms they rented. Meanwhile, they kept running the school and they started an educational project that Marianna would develop and widen later on. She would understand that the whole human being was commended to her care – “from the cradle to the grave”. The teachers were indeed the first to go out and visit the sick, to give relief and treatments to the dying and even to help the carters walking up Poggio a Caiano hill.
On December 15th 1902
five girls were already following Marianna’s choice and together they decided to wear the habit. Marianna became Sister Maria Margherita of the Sacred Heart. On October 17th 1905 she created the first profession with other five nuns and she named her new family Tertiary Franciscan nuns of the “Istituto Minime del Sacro Cuore di Gesù”.
Soon Margherita’s work started to be met with kindliness from the people and the sisters were asked for also in other towns. The community of the nuns was growing and in 1910 the first filial house was opened in Lastra a Signa were the nuns also founded a kindergarten. In the following years new filial houses were opened.
Mother Caiani set off always with anxiety when visiting them – she would leave doubtful but she would come home happy as God’s work was becoming more and more incisive and effective through His daughters.
With maternal concern
she supported and encouraged her sisters both through prayers and through the letters she would frequently write and that still today are inspirational texts that represent a witness of genuine faith vivified by an unconditional love for Christ’s Heart.
1915 till 1918
was the terrible period of the First World War. This dramatic moment stung the nuns to go wherever they were needed – under these circumstances Mother Caiani placed herself to disposal, putting the needs of the wounded before those of the Convent. Her sisters, postulants included, started working in several hospitals in Tuscany.
On August 8th 1921
Mother Margherita died in Montughi, Florence, at the age of 58.
She left 13 filial houses and 124 sisters. On July 1st 1952 the process for her beatification started. On April 23rd 1989 the Holy Father, John Paul II, beatified her in Saint Peter, Rome.
The mortal remains
of Blessed M. Margherita are kept in the Foundation Chapel of the convent in Poggio a Caiano.
ITALIA Via Giuliano da Sangallo, 2 59016 Poggio a Caiano (PO) +39 055 87775210
EGITTO Street 7 n. 30 El Maadi Cairo +20 223588422