October 20 - Venerable Ursula Benincasa

Quick Facts
  • Daughter of Girolamo Benincasa and Vincenza Genuina; hers was a wealthy and pious family who supported the arts and sciences, and many of whom entered religious life.
  • An excellent student who studied the Bible and Latin Church writings.
  • She was early drawn to religous life, and even tried to enter a convent at age ten.
  • Given to ecstacies, and known for a mystical spirituality.
  • On 2 February 1581 Ursula received a vision of Mary and the Infant Jesus.
  • Christ asked that she build a convent for cloistered sisters to pray for conversions, and to dress as Mary in a white gown and blue veil.
  • Ursula was sent to Rome to have her vision investigated.
  • She was questioned by Pope Gregory XIII and Saint Philip Neri, who was impressed by her piety.
  • In 1583 she established near Castel Saint Elmo the Oblate Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called Theatine Nuns, their habit resembling that of the Theatine clerics.
  • Their rule included simple vows, active life, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • In 1617 she founded the contemplative Hermitesses.
  • The rules of both were approved by Gregory XV in 1623.
  • She introduced blue scapular of the Immaculate Conception