Venerable Benedetta Bianchi Porro

[photograph of Venerable Benedatta Bianchi Porro]
Also known as

  • Bianchi Porro

Profile

Daughter of Guido Bianchi Porro and Elsa Giammarchi, the second of six children. Afflicted with poliomyelitis at an early age, leaving her with a crippled left leg and a need to wear a brace to prevent her spine from deforming. A clever and happy child, she began keeping a diary at age five; it became a lifelong record of her faith and the way she carried the cross of her disability. Much of her primary education was provided by Ursulines. In her teens she began to lose her hearing, and her overall health continued to deterioate.

At age 17 she enrolled in the University of Milan, Italy with a plan to study physics, but later changed to medicine. Some teachers objected to having a pre-med student who was so deaf that had to have written questions during an oral eximation, but Benedetta was an excellent student. In 1957 her studies had reached a point that she was able to diagnose herself; she had Recklinghausen Disease­-Neuro-Fibromatosis which leads to paralysis of the nervous system. She had surgery in 1958 to treat part of the condition, but it was of little benefit, and left the left side of her face paralysed. She continued her studies, but in 1959 she began losing the sense of touch, taste and smell, was completely deaf, and had to give up the idea of a medical career.

Benedetta had further surgery in August 1959; it left both legs paralyzed, and the young woman wheelchair bound. She then turned her sick room into a center of support and communication for others. Her friends from medical school were frequent visitors, and she began correspondences; in person or in print she was uniformly optimistic about life and the love of God. Benedetta and her family visited Lourdes in May 1962 in search of a cure; a paralyzed girl lying next to her was completely healed, but there was no change for Benedetta.

In Milan on 27 February 1963 Benedetta had another operation; it left her blind. She could barely speak, and could only move her right hand. However, the number of her visitors increased as word of her holiness and her gentle understanding of to love God even these circumstances. On 24 June 1963 she went again to Lourdes; as her family waited for her to be healed, she received her own miracle – the understanding that she would not change a thing about her condition.

Born

Died

  • 23 January 1964 at Sirmione, Italy of complications resulting from her Recklinghausen Disease-­Neuro-Fibromatosis
  • buried in the cemetery at Sirmione
  • body later transferred to a sarcophagus in the Benedictine Church of Saint Andrew, Dovadola, Italy

Venerated

Beatified

  • if you have information relevant to the beatification of Venerable Benedetta, contact
       Amici di Benedetta
       Via Pedriali, 11
       Forlí, 47100 ITALY

Additional Information

Readings

Dear Diary – The universe is enchanting! It is great to be alive! - Venerable Benedetta, age 7

Dear Diary – Some day soon, I will hear only the voice of my soul and that is the road I will follow. - Venerable Benedetta

For those who believe, everything is a sign - Venerable Benedetta

Sometimes I find myself defeated under the weight of this heavy cross. Then, I call upon Jesus and lovingly cast myself at His feet; He kindly permits me to rest my head on His lap. Do you understand Maria Grazia? Do you understand the ecstatic joy of those moments? - Venerable Benedetta in a letter to a friend

Her bed became the pulpit from which Benedetta ‘preached without preaching’ lessons of patience, humility, fortitude, resignation to God’s will, the value of the Cross endured with Christ and for Christ. - Father Francis Xavier Grasso, S.J.

I am aware more than ever of the richness of my condition and I don’t desire anything but to continue in it. This has been for me the miracle of Lourdes this year. - Venerable Benedetta

The cross in the sign of God in man. - Venerable Benedetta

Life has only one face – LOVE. - Venerable Benedetta

When we ‘hunger and thirst’ for God, we ‘hunger and thirst’ for others. - Venerable Benedetta

God gives us His spiritual bread through others. I have experienced it. And others nourish themselves with the Living Bread. - Venerable Benedetta

Let us not be overcome by doubt, never, never. And if this should happen even for a moment, Jesus will look down upon us and lovingly restore us to life, just as He did Lazarus. Have no fear. - Venerable Benedetta

MLA Citation

  • “Venerable Benedetta Bianchi Porro”. Saints.SQPN.com. 16 April 2012. Web. 18 September 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/venerable-benedetta-bianchi-porro/>