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Rome Reports

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Nun who received anointing of the sick from Card. Bergoglio on path to beatification

María Bernardetta dell'Immacolata was born in Italy in 1918. When she was 17 years old, she joined the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of St. Joseph.

During her life as a religious sister, she dedicated herself to the formation of priests and nuns. Her vocation led her to Argentina, where she met Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Poor Sisters of St. Joseph

“She returned to Buenos Aires, where she worked in the spiritual retreat house of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Next door was the Jesuit novitiate. Back then, the priest who was both the rector and head of the novitiate was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who today is Pope Francis.”

In Argentina, Sr. Bernardetta accompanied seminarians on their formation journey. They say her warm disposition inspired trust.

Poor Sisters of St. Joseph

“Sr. Bernarda showed support to the seminarians when they were especially discouraged, to cheer them up. She was like their spiritual mother.”

She spent her final years of life in Rome. In 2001, as her health was failing, she received a special visit.

Poor Sisters of St. Joseph

“I was here in 2001 when she was still alive. She died on Dec. 12. And the Cardinal (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) came on Dec. 2, and she asked him for the anointing of the sick. He told her that he would return in February, that she shouldn't worry. Then she said, 'No, because you won't find me.' And she died in December. So he anointed her the following day.”

Her example of service paved the way for her cause of beatification to be opened in 2019. The Poor Sisters of St. Joseph hope to finalize the local phase next year and present her case to the Vatican.