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Brescia, Italy (1464)


Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

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Bl. Stefana Quinzani


Blessed Stephana de Quinzanis (1457- 1530) was an Italian Dominican tertiary and stigmatic. She received many mystical experiences in her life including visions of Our Lord, His Blessed Mother, St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Catherine of Siena.



Stephana Quinzani was born to pious, but poor, parents of Brescia. From her earliest childhood Stephana continually heard an interior voice repeating to her the words: "Charity, charity, charity!"


Her father, Lorenzo Quinzani, became a Dominican tertiary while Stephana was very young.


She consecrated herself to God with her whole heart.


She began receiving visions of Dominican saints from age seven, at which point she made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, adding a promise to assume later on the habit of the Third Order of St. Dominic.


Our Lord then appeared to her, accompanied by His Blessed Mother, St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Catherine of Siena, and espoused her to Himself, bestowing on her a magnificent ring, which was seen by many persons.


Her family moved to Soncino, and Stephana placed herself under the spiritual direction of Bl.Matthew Carreri of the Order of St. Dominic, who one day told her that at his death he should make her his heiress. The
child did not then understand the meaning of these words, but,
when he died, she felt her heart painfully and mysteriously wounded, and at the same time Bl. Matthew appeared to her and explained that this was the inheritance he had promised her.


She went to hear a sermon on the Feast of St. Andrew and that great Apostle appeared to her in vision, holding in his hands a large cross, saying : "Behold, my daughter, the way to heaven. Love God, fear God, honor God ; flee from the world and embrace the Cross." Love of the Cross became thence forth her characteristic virtue, so that it was said of her that there were but two things for which she had an affection,
namely, Holy Communion and sufferings.


At the age of fifteen Stephana received the habit of the Third Order of St. Dominic, from which time she devoted herself to the care of the sick and poor in the hospitals, and to every kind of active charity. She was said to be able to multiply food and money and restore the sick to health. Her reputation for sanctity extended far and wide. The Republic of Venice and the Duke of Mantua pressed her to come and found convents in their territories ; but she refused, instead establishing a community of 30 Third Order sisters in Soncino. She served as its first abbess. (Because of the war between France and Venice, the nuns had to withdraw from their convent and take shelter within the walls of the town.)

Jan 2, 1530

Blessed Stephana dies. Stephana's tomb became a pilgrimage site almost immediately. Her intercession was often felt in the convent that she had founded, where the sisters obtained both material and spiritual help through her intercession. Her cult was popularized by Dominicans Bartholomeo of Mantua and Battista of Salò, (Latin vitae have been lost, and only a later Italian version that combines the two texts has survived.)

Dec 14, 1740

Beatified by Pope Benedict XIV

Description of the Vision

Our Lord appeared to her, accompanied by His Blessed Mother, St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Catherine of Siena and espoused her to Himself, bestowing on her a magnificent ring, which was seen by many persons.


In one of her raptures she was given to understand that all the angels and Saints together, including even Our Blessed Lady herself, are unable to love God as much as He deserves
to be loved. Then an abyss of love opened before her eyes, and she cried out : "O my Lord and Redeemer, grant me the grace to love all this love ; otherwise I care not to live." But
our Lord smiled upon her and told her that her wish was an impossible one, as her finite will could not embrace that abyss of infinite love. Nevertheless, to comfort her, He said that He
would accept her good will, as though she really loved to the extent to which she desired, adding : "Think not that this great abyss of love remains unloved; for, if creatures cannot love
it, it is loved by Me, who am Infinite good."

When, for the love of God, blessed Stephana had made an entire renunciation of her own will in the hands of her confessor, Our Lord appeared to her and said: "My daughter, since for the love of Me thou hast generously stripped thyself of thine own will, ask what thou wilt and I will grant it to thee." The holy Virgin replied almost in the words used by St. Thomas Aquinas under similar circumstances : "I desire nothing but Thyself, O Lord."

Miracles, Cures, and Signs

Bl. Stefana experienced many apparitions of Jesus, Mary and the Saints and received the stigmata. She participated in various stages of the Passion of Jesus Christ, which was attested to by 21 witnesses in 1497.

In all her visions the Cross bore a remarkable part, and she gave herself up, not only to the practice of the severest austerities, but to an almost uninterrupted meditation on the Passion of her Divine Spouse. She was even permitted in some degree to undergo His suffer ings in her own person, participating on Fridays in a mys terious manner in Our Lord s agony and sweat of blood, His scourging at the pillar, His crowning with thorns, and His crucifixion. Her confessor, who wrote her life, testified to having seen the sacred Stigmata on her hands and feet, and the marks of the crown of thorns upon her head.

Though she had no formal theological training, she could discuss mystical theology at the most profound level. It is said that she could read the hearts and minds of the people around her, and had the gift of prophesy and healing. She lived in a nearly continuous fast. She accurately predicted the date of her own death.


There is no record of investigation into the mystical experiences of Bl. Stefana.

Books and Videos

Bornstein, Daniel; Ann Matter, Maiju Lehmijoki-Gardner (2005). Dominican Penitent Women. Paulist Press. pp. 251.

Dunbar, Agnes (1905). A Dictionary of Saintly Women. Bell. pp. 232.

Walsh, William James. The apparitions and shrines of heaven's bright queen in legend, poetry and history : from the earliest ages to the present time New York ; New Orleans : Carey-Stafford. 1906

Short Lives of the Dominican Saints (by a Sister of the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena) London. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd. PaterNoster House, Charing Cross Road 1901


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