Italian woman born to atheist parents beatified

Itala Mela (1904-57), an Italian woman born to atheist parents, was beatified in her native La Spezia, Italy, on June 10.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the Mass of beatification, which took place in a piazza in the city.

Mela’s grandparents prepared her for First Communion and Confirmation when she was a girl. Later, as a teen, Mela became an atheist after the death of her brother.

At eighteen, Mela had a conversion experience, and after receiving her university degree became a Benedictine oblate, taking the religious name of Mary of the Trinity. Mela was granted mystical experiences, and Pope Francis declared her venerable in 2014.

Following the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on June 11, Pope Francis said that Blessed Mela “grew up in a family that was far from the faith. In her youth she professed herself atheist, however, she converted following an intense spiritual experience. She was committed among Catholic university students; then she became a Benedictine Oblate and undertook a mystical journey focused on the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, which we celebrate today in a special way. May the testimony of the new Blessed encourage us, during our days, to turn our thought often to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who dwells in the cell of our heart”.

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