Nennolina

Be sure to check out Vultus Christi and the entry on Benedict’s words about Nennolina, a little Roman girl whose heroic virtues the Pope has recently recognized as part of her cause.

This was an interesting little girl, who lived only to six and half years old, just after she was given her First Holy Communion.  She suffered terribly from bone cancer and lost a leg.

This is what the little girl wrote some months before her Communion:

"Dear Jesus Eucharist I love You so much! . . .
Really very much!
Not only because You are the Father of all the world, but also because You are the King of all the world, I always want to be Your lamp which burns night and day before You and near You in the Sacrament of the altar.

I’d like You to grant me three favours the first – make me saint, and this is the most important favour;
the second – give me some souls;
the third – make me walk normally, to tell the truth this is the least important.
I’m not saying to give me back my leg, I gave it to You!

Dear Jesus I like my teacher Sister Noemi very much.
I love her so, help her to do all the necessary things that You want her to do.
Dear Jesus Eucharist!
I love You so much so that I’m really longing for Christmas.
Make my heart shine to You when You come into my poor heart.
Dear Jesus, I’ll make a lot of sacrifices that I’ll offer to You
when I do the First Holy Communion.

Dear Jesus Eucharist! . . .
I want to suffer a lot to redeem also the sins of men, especially of the very bad ones.
Dear Jesus Eucharist I say good-bye to You and I kiss You.
Your Antonietta.
Good night Jesus good night Mary."

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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19 Responses to Nennolina

  1. Bryan says:

    Didn’t Our Lord say many times that we should have the faith of a child to
    enter His Kingdom?

    Oh, what our ‘adult’ lives take away: the certainty that He is with us each
    day, and what talents, skills, insights, thoughts, and desires are only there
    on loan.

    Or, as the old German maxim states: we grow too soon old, and too late
    smart.

    Bryan

  2. danphunter1 says:

    Awesome faith, like Dominic Savio.
    Dear sweet St. Antonietta, pray for us who are so prideful and callous.
    Kyrie Eleison.

  3. Al says:

    Amen!

    There was a girl up here who recently passed away. She had such faith. She made this prayer that I keep
    with me always. If you all want, I can post it. I can only hope I face my end with such positive faith and
    love.

  4. Paul from Cork says:

    That was so nice… and humbling…

    I was reminded of our Little Nellie of Holy God who had such a desire to receive “Holy God” in the eucharist that special permission was given for her aged only four and a half and whose case made it to the ears of Pope St Pius X. See…

    http://homepage.eircom.net/~portlawns/Pages/little_nellie.htm

    Paul

  5. I think her tomb is in the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.
    A monk there told me her cause is moving forward, if I remember correctly.

  6. Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    In my priestly ministry, I’ve always been impressed by the huge moral and religious capacity of even the youngest children. They see, even with just a little bit of encouragement, the greatness of the Fatherhood and Kingship of Christ’s prophetic Priesthood. “Jesus Eucharist” she says… It takes my breath away. Thanks for posting this, Fr Z.

  7. Prof. Basto says:

    St. Antonietta, pray for us to God!

  8. Aric says:

    I don’t think one can be faulted by being disturbed by stories of child saints.

    Yes, there are child saints, who have been given great graces and are in heaven with God.

    But to sound a note a caution, I would suggest people read the preface that Flannery O’Connor wrote to a Memoir of Mary Ann. (I believe the preface is collected in the Mystery and Manners collection.) I found it of great merit.

  9. techno_aesthete says:

    Cosi` bella! Out of the mouths of babes …

  10. feminaprovita says:

    Yes, she is in Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. When I studied abroad with Franciscan University in 2005, her tomb was among the many places our professors took us on tour.

    If I recall correctly, Antonietta Meo desired to bring healing to others through her intercession, particularly for terminal illnesses. Her sign was to be lilies, as Ste. Therese’s is roses.

    She is such an inspiration!

  11. malta says:

    “Dear Jesus Eucharist I say good-bye to You and I kiss You.
    Your Antonietta.
    Good night Jesus good night Mary.”

    Hear-wrenching and beautiful.

  12. Dave says:

    Simply beautiful….. Beautifully simple…..

    I think that even more than having a “huge moral and religious capacity” many children also seem to have a great ability to “suffer well.” She is a wonderful model. Father Z thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  13. moretben says:

    Having a beautiful and devout little six-year-old daughter myself, this brings tears to my eyes.

    Thank you, Jesus.

  14. Brian Underwood says:

    This is truly inspiring. Clearly brings to light Christ’s teaching of being as the little children… the simple and pure faith of children! Much needed in this overly adult and complex world.

    With her cause of sanctitiy going forward perhaps the cause of Little Nellie Organ should also be reopened. The cause was put forward by the Irish ordinary but both he and St Pius X died and she was forgotten.

    This reminds me of this special little girl as well:

    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2007-0228-a_new_song_of_bernadette.htm

    Thank you, Fr Zuhlsdorf!

    St. Antonietta, pray for us!

  15. Matt Q says:

    Yes, from mouth of babes. Inspiring and thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing this, Father.

  16. Matt Q says:

    Brian Underwood wrote:

    “…perhaps the cause of Little Nellie Organ should also be reopened. The cause was put forward by the Irish ordinary but both he and St Pius X died and she was forgotten.”

    We hope Nellie’s cause continues. Not sure how specific postulation was in pre-Concilliar days but her cause still should have been moving forward. What was the outcome of the various steps? Was her bishop the Postulator of her cause, and who was the succeeding Postulator? Sad when noble efforts fall by the wayside due to lack of interest.

  17. Brian Underwood says:

    Matt Q wrote:

    “We hope Nellie’s cause continues. Not sure how specific postulation was in pre-Concilliar days but her cause still should have been moving forward. What was the outcome of the various steps? Was her bishop the Postulator of her cause, and who was the succeeding Postulator? Sad when noble efforts fall by the wayside due to lack of interest.”

    Matt, in answer to your question, I quote the following from “Princesses of the Kingdom – Jacinta Marto & Nellie Organ”:

    “The Bishop* lost no time in opening a court of enquiry concerning the virtues of the holy little child, this being the first step towards possible canonisation. He was not destined, however, to see his hopes realised. Pius X died in August 1914, and he himself in 1916.

    God’s time had evidently not yet come. May Nellie herself from her fair heavenly home hasten this.”

    *The Bishop was Bishop O’Callaghan, bishop of the diocese of Cork.

    See:

    http://www.unitypublishing.com/Newsletter/Nellie.htm

  18. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Dave wrote: “children also seem to have a great ability to ‘suffer well.'”

    Indeed, but not only “seem to have”!!!

    WHEN she writes “Dear Jesus Eucharist!… I want to suffer a lot to redeem also the sins of men, especially of the very bad ones,” THAT IS WHEN I think that her prayers have been answered, even for ME.

    No matter what sins priests confess (and hopefully we priests confess regularly) we are the worst of sinners, “very bad ones” as she writes, for we priests must be so very, very holy, for we say, in Persona Christi, the very wedding vows of God with His Bride, The Church: This is my Body, given for you, in sacrifice… This is my Blood, shed for you, in sacrifice… the total Self-giving of God to His Bride, the Church. It is only in reciting these vows in holiness that we know that we are wed to the Church and that governance springs from being a Father in the midst of the ecclesial family.

    The Congregation for the Clergy has a wonderful downloadable booklet with stories about those who have prayed and suffered for priests. Nennolina’s story should be added, as should those of other children I have known, who have indeed suffered well, even to death, offering themselves to our Lord with, how to say it… great unction.

    I suppose, then, that I should start signing my name with “Fr”. Thanks Nennolina.

  19. techno_aesthete says:

    The Congregation for the Clergy has a wonderful downloadable booklet with stories about those who have prayed and suffered for priests.

    Yes, it does. It is available as a 1.5 Mb PDF file with beautiful images or as an HTML document without the images. I have read some of it and it is very inspirational.