Pope to canonize Italian Poor Clare mystic

October 18, 2010

Blessed Camilla Battista Varano, 1458-1524, the illegitimate daughter of an Italian nobleman, was a mystic who had to overcome her father’s initial objections in order to enter the convent of the Poor Clares.

According to an autobiographical letter, when she was eight or 10 years old, she heard a Franciscan priest preaching about Christ’s passion and made a vow that every Friday she would shed at least one tear for Jesus’ suffering.

The practice became a powerful form of meditation on the Passion.

Her writings, mainly based on mystical experiences received while praying, include the Treatise on the Mental Sufferings of Jesus Christ Our Lord, which she initially attributed to an unnamed sister.

The central thesis of the book is that because Jesus was divine and his love for humanity was infinite, his mental suffering during his passion also was without limit.