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(1774 - 1835)


By Emilia Dossi, Canossian Sister


( EP. I )


The religious and historical importance of the Marchioness, Magdalene of Canossa (1774-1835) and her charitable work is lavishly reflected in the collection of her letters, since these are not an exhibition of her literary style, but tools for the work she undertook in her service of God.

More than what she wrote, her correspondence reveals, first of all, what she lived and suffered in daily life.

In fact I think it is difficult to substitute a collection of letters as the main historical source for an understanding of the spiritual and intimate life of a person.

The importance derives also from the time and place where the letters were written, to the extent that these are reflected in them.

The centre of influence of the Marchioness of Canossa’s charity is Verona: the Verona of the early nineteenth century, at the end of the reign of the Serenissima, disputed between France and Austria, and finally in the complacent hands of the Emperor of Vienna, together with Veneto and Lombardy,


The unabridged and critical edition of the collection of letters of the Marchioness, Magdalene of Canossa, is presented with simplicity, rigour and gravity, above all with gravity, in its first volume, which consists of more than four hundred letters written to friends and relatives.

My assignment is to assure the validity of the work and its practical execution, the complete and faithful transcription of the originals as they are, until these come out in print.

Each letter is provided with all the possible notes: a summary account precedes the text of the letters, in which the essential elements are collected and summed up. Each of these is then accompanied by historical notes regarding people, places and other details, bearing on the matter of the content of each letter.


No one can now say or write something serious about Magdalene of Canossa or her work, without reading the text of the collection of her letters attentively. No one will take in hand the volumes of this collection of letters without being fascinated by and taking advantage of the knowledge of the world which surrounded the Marchioness.

I have only to express my warmest congratulations to the Canossian Institute which has begun this work and has carried it out with great sacrifices. But the result of this really does honour to the Institute.


Professor of the Faculty of Theology

of the Pont. Univ. Lateranense

Principal of the Inst. “Ecclesia Mater”

Rome, 15 August, 1975 Feast of the Assumption.
of the
I am glad to present to the Institute the first volume of the critical edition of the letters of our Founder, Magdalene of Canossa.

Many were the requests for an authentic, not retouched documentation which can become the patrimony of the Institute.

This volume, gathering all the letters to her friend Durini and a few others to some of her relatives, forms a precious source to know our Mother, her thoughts and the genesis of her work.

It is presented in the form of a critical work, provided with all the necessary notes for the understanding of the text and the references to the times, with the style of the 1800s and the cultural context in which Magdalene lived.

From a careful reading, even if the style of these letters is sometimes difficult to follow, there emerges the figure of a woman captivated by Christ, in search only of his Will, firmly committed to carrying out the divine plans, tender and warm-hearted, but also strong and dynamic and above all, a woman with a tireless activity.

No difficulty can hold her back. She is open to every possibility. Humble in her research, she asks for and accepts help and advice, urged on by her desire for the divine glory and to be useful to her beloved poor.

This is a humble documentation, very much like the Gospels. It quenches our thirst and makes us long to drink some more. To understand Blessed Magdalene of Canossa means to love her, appreciate her and to become enthusiastic about her.

I particularly wish that the Daughters of Charity may make of this a personal experience.

Sr. Filomena Annoni
Rome, 15 September, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (1975)
For a long time it was lamented that the Institute of the Canossian Daughters of Charity had in the letters of their Foundress, a patrimony which could have given a very remarkable contribution to history, sociology and spirituality, but that it was presented in a way that was incomplete, dissected and practically unusable.

The present Mother General, M. Filomena Annoni and her Councillors, Serafini Antonietta, Maruti Giuseppina, Poletti Rina, Moreno Elena, Valsecchi Maria and Tasca Natalia, decided that one of the members of the Institute should take upon herself this task, even though the work seemed to be immense and not at all easy, nor one that could be completed quickly.

Perhaps, the impressions at the beginning of the work seemed to be rather negative. Magdalene of Canossa had always been frail in health, but with the cure of her time, which often consisted of blood-letting, she ended up alternating between an apparent physical well-being and a noticeable organic weakness. When she became Foundress, she was compelled to undergo frequent and rather uncomfortable journeys. She felt the need to be helped by casual secretaries in the drafting of her letters. Often these were able to convey her thought, but not her style. So sometimes the letters have a lot of grammatical mistakes.

She could have corrected them, but the nobility of those days did not pay much attention to the style of letter-writing. Moreover, the Italian language was not considered for official use .

The political situation, the non-existence of a united Italian state, the alternating foreign regimes and the supremacy of the French language among people of higher classes of society justified this linguistic indifference.

Then, as the years went by, with the desire to reflect on the thoughts of the Foundress, more than once, attempts were made to make her collection of letters known, but the admiration of the Religious for the virtues of Magdalene of Canossa was intolerant towards what seemed to be a laxity of style. It seemed necessary to remedy this by correcting and interpreting, and in the ultimate analysis, of running the risk of unwittingly misinterpreting the content. Finally nothing was done about it.

To give the collection of the letters of Magdalene of Canossa an authentic shape therefore meant embarking on the most elementary needs for a critical work. The first feelings that this process provoked in the less critically prepared members of our religious family was a sense of discomfort.

Then, there was another perspective. Various biographers of any noteworthy person usually highlight one or more characteristics of the individual. Then, around these, they fill in their details which gradually presents the reality of that person, as complete and often “unique and unrepeatable”.

We were thus used to a series of fixed ideas, which presented the Marchioness of Canossa as “such a” person and none other.

But if we study her letters carefully, we notice that many of these ‘characteristic’ traits remain. But they are better understood, amplified, sometimes even rectified and in certain aspects rediscovered, so that Magdalene of Canossa does not appear only with a halo, but in her psychological complexity, which is perhaps something new.

The span of time during which she writes or makes others write, goes from 1800 to the first months of 1835, a relatively short period. But, if it is seen within the framework in which she lived, it makes your head spin.

Our century which is drawing to an end, is dominated by such a rapid pace of discoveries, inventions and changes that these upset and frighten us. Perhaps the speedy convulsions of the history of her times and ours, have the same violent rhythm, even if under different aspects.

In 1795 the French Revolution was a thing of the past. The Convention was replaced by the Directory. This was the starting point of the campaign of the political fortune of Napoleon. The sudden and violent seizure of the State on 18 Brumaire (name of the second month of the calendar of the French Revolution) takes this officer from Corsica and raises him to be, first emperor, and then, supreme ruler of the whole of Europe.

The coalitions follow one after another, but Napoleon overcomes all obstacles. Yet, by 6 April 1814, he has to acknowledge his total defeat.

The (Italian) peninsula, which for centuries had almost forgotten that it had been part of a kingdom, had felt with him the same wavering between hopes and disappointments.

The Cisalpine Republic, the Italian Kingdom, these were vague hopes for better days, when the name Italy could perhaps have meant a stable reality.

But if from 1796 to 1805, the initiatives, at first chaotic and then well marked by such good organizers as Melzi and Prina evoked trust, from 1805 to 1814 the more recent interference of Napoleon impoverished the new Kingdom in a frightful way.

Relationships with the Church went beyond the lines of safety, and the Pope himself together with many Prelates, was arrested and taken to France.

The negative aspects outweigh, at least in part, the positive ones, which were also not lacking. The Viceroy Eugenio Beauharnais, the only one who could have saved the Italian Kingdom, hands over its territories to Austria with the Convention of Mantua on 23 April 1814.

In her letter of 4 May 1814 to Durini, Magdalene describes the enthusiasm with which the people from Verona – she can only speaks of them – welcome the Austrians, as their longed-for liberators, even though, not many months later, they will notice that the chains are different, but just as if not even heavier.

And from 1815 to 1835 – the year Magdalene dies – the “underground” Italy is in continuous tension. It strives to reach the point when it can feel and be able to define itself as a free and sovereign land, to be the master of its fate, without having to passively accept a foreign rule.

For this ideal some of the youth of the nobility, well off and well educated, die or languish in jail. But under the sun, in the open air, there is another part of this subjugated society that disturbs more than arouses the pity of the Austrian ruler.

The wars, which have gone on for so many years, have depleted the nobles with their continual land revenues, but they have also reduced the less well-to-do classes to beggary, which ignorance has degraded even further. More than moral consciousness what is disappearing is even human sensitivity.

Many historical and biographical studies of those times emphasise, almost with crudeness, the spread of immorality even among those who should have been witnesses of the merciful Christ. They hardly mention the numberless crowds of generous people who gave up everything: money, activity, the renunciation to their own welfare, so that the sick, the poverty-stricken, the derelict, those fallen in wicked ways, might find subsistence, guidance and support.

And among these, the nobility and priests excelled so that in Verona alone, and almost contemporarily, we could list them, whether they belonged to the “Brotherhood” (Fratellanza)” or not, the founders of various Institutes at the service of those rejected by fate: Leonardi, Sagramoso, Bertoni, Naudet, Mazza, Campostrini, Provolo, Bresciani, Steeb.

Among them is also Magdalene of Canossa who, through her letters, displays this wide panorama of that flowering of charity. But her acquaintances, rather her partnerships in doing good works, are not restricted to Verona alone. They include Venice, Rome, Rimini and more than ever Milan, where all the nobility, men and women, seem to be waiting for her requests to collaborate with her for the multitudes who suffer, without any distinction of their social status.

Here is a collection of many letters, about a thousand of them, which she wrote or made others write, to friends, relatives, Government officials, priests or prelates, which all converged toward a single goal: the realization of her dream of giving herself to God so that – for His sake – the most abandoned people may be taken care of, may live decently and may be prepared, to contribute actively, to the life ahead of them.

Addressed to the project she had already achieved, there is another enormous quantity of letters, more than two thousand of them, written to the members of the Houses she has founded, be they aspirants, religious or superiors. She conveys to each of them motherly concern through her guidance regarding discipline and spiritual matters.

On account of their great number, we have decided to divide this collection of Magdalene’s letters into three parts, published in four volumes.
1. FAMILIAR LETTERS: to Durini, brothers and sisters, friends (EP I )

2. OFFICIAL LETTERS: to ecclesial and civil authorities, and also to relatives or friends for matters of business regarding her various foundations (Part 1 and 2): (EP II/1 , EP II/2)

3. LETTERS TO MEMBERS: of the various Houses of the Institute (Part 1-5):

(EP III/1, EP III/2, EP III/3, EP III/4, EP III/5)

With a thorough reading of Volume I: “Familiar Letters”, a desire spontaneously arises: to know even the exterior traits of this woman who has a lot to say also in our times, even as she passes through the various phases of the human spirit. At first she is doubtful about her ideal, which does not appear well defined. Later, she attains a certain maturity and awareness, that even urges her to impose her directives to historical people who seemed less reachable, such as emperors and popes. She gets the active and immediate collaboration of a numerous crowd: those in government, the nobility and influential professionals at higher levels of society, humble people who knows how to overthrow the defences of the antagonists.

The pictorial reproductions of the time perhaps do not do full justice to this person. So it was decided to print even the passport granted to Magdalene for her journeys beyond the confines of the Lombard-Veneto Region. These are only a few elements actually, but they give the reader the freedom to reconstruct the picture of this lady which the imagination (of previous biographers) has partly altered.

The letter which initiates the abovementioned “Correspondence of Magdalene of Canossa” should belong to Volume II, with the replies or requests made by the Marchioness to the various officials, for the realization of her charitable dream. Instead it has been placed before the ‘familiar’ ones because it shows the uncertainty of a person who wants to answer positively to the divine call, but is not yet able to decode the message.

It is the answer that the seventeen-year-old Magdalene gives to the Dominican Father, Domenico Maria Federici from the Convent of the Discalced, where she thinks she is going to realize her dream, but which, on the contrary, seems almost immediately a wrong choice.

This is followed by the 349 letters written by Magdalene of Canossa to the Milanese Lady, Countess Carolina Durini.
Among the scholars, who dealt with this correspondence, there is a remarkable numerical difference. For instance in Piccari, “Sola con Dio solo”, Ancora, Milan 1966, there appear at least an additional 50 letters. This difference is due to the index of the texts, in which there is a duplication of references. The author justifies this since these are references for the purpose of study.

We also notice that from 1820 to 1827, there is an obvious shortage of letters.

It is a void that cannot be filled, because we were unable to consult the family Archives of the heirs, the researches done at Fabrica Durini, the holiday villa of the Durini family and the Archives of Milan – among which the most important is that of the Malvezzi – which did not give any positive results.

The letters which follow the Correspondence with Durini, include those written to her brother Bonifacio, some to her nephews, nieces and friends of both sexes. Altogether, these are 62 letters, dealing with various topics. They do not have an official style and are the only ones we could trace.

***** ***********
To throw light on the relationship of Magdalene of Canossa with each addressee, before each group of letters, there is a short presentation of the addressee himself and the reasons behind that particular correspondence.

The references printed at the foot of each letter, are the result of research done in the Archives of Rome, Milan, Venice, Treviso and in places around Brescia. We will give exact information of the source in the notes themselves.

During this research we found some unexpected, but very valid collaborators such as: Count Franco Arese from Milan whom we casually met at the Trivulzi Archives of Milan, Professor Secchi Claudio Cesare, Director of the Manzoni Archives of the same city, and in Verona Monsignor Pietro Rossetti, an expert in the history of that capital city.

But the most heartfelt gratitude goes to the Benedictine Father from Rome, Doctor Ildefonso Tassi, Professor of the Faculty of Theology and Head of the Institute “Ecclesia Mater” in the Lateran University, and its General Secretary, Doctor Piergiacomo Bolzoni.

On account of the latter, whose sympathetic and warm collaboration we enjoyed for many years, it was possible to obtain the serene, good, comforting and highly valid guidance of Father Tassi, who followed up the work with the pleasure and interest of one who has a real admiration for the Marchioness Magdalene of Canossa.

With regard to the technique followed in reproducing these letters, only some touches have been made to the punctuation and the accents thought necessary for understanding and reading the text. The abbreviations were written in full. No other alterations have been made to the text.

When there are serious grammatical errors, this is mentioned in the initial summary or before the footnotes. Wherever possible, the author of the draft is named.

Both words and dates have been completed by adding, in parenthesis, the syllables or missing figures.

The work is provided with an “analytical index”, but not a bibliographical list, because it seems more convenient to include this in the last volume.
Emilia Dossi


Before starting a critical study on the letters of the Marchioness, Magdalene of Canossa, there were many discussions regarding the method to followed.

We know that the majority of critics usually choose the chronological progression of letters. But there is also a trend in scholars who advise undoubtedly a chronological progression, but a separate one for each addressee.

Finally we opted for this procedure, which is not without its advantages.

After an attentive reading of all the letters to Durini, we notice that, approaching them progressively, through their interaction, we are able to delineate the many-sided spiritual figure of Magdalene, who passes on from a state of uncertainty about her decisions to an almost unexpected confidence regarding her choices.

This reading also shows the development of the Institute, as it vacillated between the goals to be reached, the obstacles to be overcome, the hopes, the disappointments, and sometimes even unexpected realisations.

A chronological progression, on the contrary, would have engendered a less positive impression, because of the heaviness and inaccuracy of the style, often due to the inadequate education of the secretaries and particularly, because of the repetition of the same concepts in many writings.

The letters to Durini are perhaps the best group. They reflect, according to my opinion, a more open and spontaneous personality, more confident of herself, one who adheres to etiquette only until her friendship with the Milanese lady becomes a relationship of authenticity and interiority. In them, above all, Magdalene of Canossa is completely herself.
Emilia Dossi




1 March

The birth of Magdalene of Canossa in Verona

2 March

Her baptism in the Church of St Lorenzo


5 October

The death of her father


25 August

Her mother, Teresa Szluha re-marries and is separated from the children.


Experiences life in a Carmelite Monastery


Beginning of the correspondence with Durini


Organization of the “Compagnia dei Tre Soldi” for the financial support of the work Magdalene is starting.


1 March

Magdalene’s name is being proposed for election as governor of the Hospital of Mercy.

3 March

The first girls of the “Ritiro” are housed in the district of the Church of the Filippini Fathers.

6 May

Her encounter with the Filippini Father Bellavite of Mantua, who has a charitable work that is flourishing.

5 June

Ludovica Rambaldo has been chosen as Governor of the Hospital of Mercy: Magdalene makes her aware of her plan of assistance.

4 July

The house of near the Filippini Church is going to be sold. Magdalene is very preoccupied.

4 October

Magdalene moves the girls to a new house near the Church of St. Lorenzo in Corso Cavour. An overall vision of the charitable plan of Magdalene.

24 November

The Congress of Lyon to organise the Cisalpine Republic. The Bishop of Milan, the Archpriest Galvani and uncle Gerolamo have the duty to participate in it.

25 December

The Pious Union of the Hospital of Milan is progressing continuously


9 January

The death of the Archbishop of Milan in Lyon.

19 February

The Archpriest Galvani, Magdalene’s Confessor, returns from Lyon.

25 February

Father De Vecchi, Archpriest of the Parish Church of St. Alessandro in Milan enters the orbit of the zeal of Magdalene of Canossa.

13 June

Father De Vecchi, the Ladies of Milan and Magdalene of Canossa would like to control the excesses of fashions by creating fashion models. Even Marquis Casati shows interest in this.

1 July

They try to exchange some ideas with Arnaud, the person most responsible for the Fashions of Paris and Italy.

17 October

The purchase of the house in Via Regaste near St. Zeno in Oratorio on the right bank of the Adige in Verona for the Canossian Works of charity.


17 January

A request for the mediation of Marquis Casati because some sacred places have been requisitioned for public constructions.

13 February

The Government does not allow Don Pietro Leonardi and Don Carlo Steeb to preach. A request by Magdalene to put an end to misconduct

6 March

There is a fear that the Convents may be suppressed.

13 April

A new work is planned for the abandoned girls in Milan. Magdalene is interested in this.

2 May

An attempt is made to try to substitute the missions with the Spiritual Exercises, provided Father De Vecchi is allowed to preach them. But the Government is hesitant.

10 July

The “storm”, that is, the fear of the suppression, is becoming more menacing.

16 October

Magdalene’s enthusiasm for the work of Father Bellavite does not diminish, but she becomes aware that her plan does not agree with his.

5 December

Bonifacio Canossa has already married the Countess Francesca Castiglioni of Milan


4 January

The friends in Milan would like to have Magdalene as a direct Collaborator, but neither she nor Father De Vecchi, who is the director, are convinced about this.

15 January

Magdalene and Durini ask the help of each other to assist needy cases. Among these is the case of Valenti, which will continue to concern the two ladies for a long time.

17 June

Raimondi, an alleged mystic, draws the attention of Magdalene. She would like to intervene to resolve the complications of the three priests involved in this case

23 July

If a tutor is engaged for Carlino Canossa, Magdalene will be able to follow her Vocation.

23 October

The Holy Father, Pius VII, will pass through Parma on his way to Paris,; Durini will meet him there. On the contrary, Magdalene has to renounce this occasion.

27 November

Bonifacio Canossa has become a father: a baby girl is born. Durini has been to Parma and has come to know the Luigine. She likes them. Magdalene is very pleased.


14 January

The friends in Milan would like to have Magdalene as a direct Collaborator, but neither she nor Father De Vecchi, who is the director, are convinced about this.

2 April

Teresa Trotti Bentivoglio Arconati, Durini’s sister has died in Milan. She was the animator of many charitable works. Magdalene is still in a sorrowful mood

2 June

Magdalene will carry out her charitable activity in Verona. Father De Vecchi has solved this perplexity.

26 June

During Napoleon’s stay at the Canossa Palace, Magdalene withdraws to the house of her girls and makes known to her relatives that she means to remain there. But Bonifacio refuses to consent until she finds a building more suitable for a Canossa.

26 July

The Order of Suppression is affecting various religious Orders. Canossa, Durini and their collaborators are doing whatever is possible to prevent this.

12 September

The war between the French and Austrian armies has flared up again. But the Canossa family has not been affected by this.

17 November

The women folk of the Canossa Palace, during the war that has broken out again, are guests of the “Raminghelli” of Don Pietro Leonardi and Magdalene is able to admire his heroic charity and that of many other priests.


22 February

At the Canossa Palace, chosen as the temporary residence of the Viceroy and his entourage, there have been many feasts and banquets. The “presentation” of Magdalene take just two minutes, but she is able to strike friendly relationships with many Ladies of the Court.

16 March

Napoleon’s Statutes have not yet been issued in Italy, but one foresees the imminent concentration of many monasteries. Durini and other collaborators precede Magdalene in trying to reduce the serious damages caused by Napoleon’s orders. They have already succeeded in preventing a few.


The Nuns of St. Augustine have to abandon their convent in St. Zeno Major.

If she could have it for her work, Magdalene would solve the disagreement with her relatives: the monastery is beautiful and spacious. However, the State Property Office will cede it only if it is bought or if authoritative documents are produced declaring the usefulness of the work of the prospective acquirer.


13 January

The required documentation for the monastery of St. Zeno has already been presented, but the greatest obstacle is the impossibility for Magdalene to meet the expenses.

8 February

Bonifacio will help his sister to buy the monastery, since the State has allowed the payment to be done in instalments.

5 March

The difficulties for the purchase of the monastery near St. Zeno are becoming more and more serious. But Magdalene feels the appeal of that poor district so strongly that she cannot give it up.

9 July

The local Government in Verona is preparing a very positive report about the work of Magdalene of Canossa. It will be a wise thing if Durini informs the Minister of Interior affairs, Count Di Breme.

25 October

While the whole Canossa family is on holiday at Grezzano, Magdalene is thinking of moving permanently to stay with her girls. In this way she will not feel the agony of leaving.


14 April

The Prefecture has passed the Decree of a possible purchase of the monastery of St. Zeno by Magdalene of Canossa


12 March

While both Don Leonardi and Canon Pacetti are in Milan to preach the Spiritual Exercises to the servants and hairdressers, the friends from Milan keep on asking Magdalene to be the Governor of the Major Hospital. She refers to Pacetti, because she does not consider this offer to be positive.

June- July

There is more pressure from the State Property Office. Magdalene appeals to the Minister of Finance. She sends a petition to Durini so that it may be corrected, if necessary, and then forward by means of Casati.

3 August

The State Property Office has imposed terms that have to be met immediately for the purchase of St. Zeno, but Magdalene is unable to accept them. She asks senator Carlotti to mediate for her.


7 March

Magdalene has been invited to Venice by the Cavanis Brothers so that she may organize her work for poor girls there.


20 March

The Valenti case is still unsettled, much more so now because the eldest sister is going to get married.

8 September

Almost unexpectedly the Work of Magdalene has begun also in Venice.


27 March

The season has changed, and so too the tasks that Magdalene entrusts to Durini, and viceversa. They ask the help of each other to solve cases that are more and more complicated. Now there is also that of the rent of the House in Venice.Casati should deal with it.

12 June

A new charitable plan is taking form in Magdalene’s mind: a House for Convalescents. She looks around for suitable Rules.

17 July

The State Property Office of Venice puts difficulties in solving the problem of the rent for St. Lucia. Even Marquis Casati cannot find a possible solution.

7 October

What seemed to be impossible is solved through Marquis Casati and turn out in a better way. On 9 October, Magdalene’s work will begin in the new residence: the convent of the ex Augustinian Nuns of St. Lucia.


4 May

Napoleon has been finally defeated: the Austrians enter Verona.

17 May

During the blockade of the city, the Tavernas, i.e., the sister and brother-in-law of Durini, were a great help to Magdalene and her Companions who fortunately,were in the convent of St. Lucia. Don Vincenzo Strambi is abou to leave, but Father Fontana who has been released from prison together with Pius VII, is going to return. Durini will be happy about this.

12 July

Marquis Gerolamo Canossa is dead. He is the father of Carlino, Magdalene’s little cousin, who had been entrusted to her by his dying mother.


4 March

Durini and Magdalene meet in Venice. They agree to start a work similar to that of Verona and Venice even in Milan. But Magdalene has notices that in Milan her plan will be partly distorted. So she gives a negative answer.

19 April

Durini who has accepted to carry out Magdalene’s plans, is preparing a house for her, but the friend from Verona clarifies once more: if it is a question only of a school, she cannot accept the project, because her plan includes also the works of the hospital and the catechism classes.

1 July

The consent for Milan is now certain, but Magdalene has to see to the arrangement of the House of Verona, since Leopoldina Naudet, whom Canon Pacetti had allowed to enter the “Ritiro” of Magdalene of Canossa eight years ago, together with some Companions of hers, is getting ready to leave in order to start a foundation of her own. Magdalene is not in anguish about this.

11 November

Francesco I, the Emperor of Austria and Lombardo-Veneto, has visited the work of Magdalene in Venice and has donated to her the monastery of St. Lucia.


12 January

Both the Government and the State Property Office begin to put strong oppositions to prevent the validity of the gift made by the Sovereign.

30 January

Magdalene begins the procedures for the formal approval of the Institute. Father Fontana should present the Rules to the Pope, but avoiding the Congregation of the Bishops

29 April

The Empress Maria Ludovica d’Este dies in the Canossa Palace, where she was a guest. Magdalene is in great sorrow.

9 June

Carolina Durini’s brother-in-law, Marquis Carlo Arconati, is dead. He was called “the Father of the poor”

11 July

Magdalene is about to leave for Milan. She stops at Caravaggio to implore the Virgin Mary’s help for the new foundation.

2 November

Magdalene has returned to Verona and has left Elena Bernardi as Superior in Milan

12 November

In Verona, after Naudet and Don Gaspare Bertoni have gone away, the difficulties are many, because the Sisters have neither a Superior nor a Confessor.

20 December

On account of Naudet’s departure, Magdalene is undergoing a “very serious storm”.


8 April

The Decree of the Emperor granting her the monasteries in Verona and Venice is still awaited. Count Mellerio, who is going to Vienna, on account of his high position, may intervene and exert pressure.


5 February

Venice resists the ratification of the Emperor’s gift.

10 February

The Government has imposed such heavy conditions, that Magdalene thinks that she may have to give up the work in that city.

26 June

The Decree of Spalatro (17 May 1818) has ordered the restoration of the religious Corporations that are really useful. Countess Taverna comes to know that even Magdalene’s work is listed among them.


1 January

Count Costanzo Taverna has died and the Trotti sisters are in deep mourning

26 March

Magdalene writes to Durini, who is in Rome after a journey through various States of Italy. She announces that she has had another visit of the Sovereign, who assured her that he had signed the Decree three days earlier and had admired the “Plan” of her work.


14 August

The prospect of a foundation in Turin as desired by Marquis d’Azeglio. But this foundation will not take place.

NB. At this point, that is after 1820, the letters to Durini cannot give us sufficient data, because they are fewer in number. We follow them only partially, replacing them with the historical data of the foundations.

17 September

Canonical erection of the House of Bergamo


The death of Francesca Castiglioni, wife of Bonifacio Canossa

10 September

Canonical erection of Milan


17 August:

Bonifacio marries Marchioness Rosanna Carlotti

29 November

A part of the Community of Milan moves to the new House of St. Michele alla Chiusa


23 May

Opening of the Hospital for Convalescents in Venice

21 June

Canonical erection of the House of Trent

24 October

Magdalene is in Rome for the approval of the Rules

23 December:

Decree of approval of Pope Leo XII


An attempt to collaborate with Don Provolo in Verona


The Beginning of the Oratory of the Sons of Charity in Venice


10 April:

The death of Magdalene of Canossa in Verona.


7 December

Magdalene of Canossa is proclaimed BLESSED by His Holiness Pius XII


2 October

She is proclaimed SAINT by His Holiness John Paul

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