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450th Anniversary of St. Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi's Birth

Saint Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi, Carmelite Nun and Mystic
Anniversary Year: 2nd April 2016 - 25th May 2017

2016 marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of the Carmelite nun Saint Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi.

This remarkable Italian woman was born in Florence to one of the city's wealthiest families in 1566. She had a pious upbringing and entered the monastery of the Carmelite nuns in Florence when she was sixteen. She led a hidden life of prayer, penance, humilty and self-denial, praying particularly for the renewal of the Church, and encouraging the sisters in holiness. Her life was marked by many extraordinary graces. Among the mystical experiences she was granted was exchanging her heart with that of Jesus and reliving the sufferings of te Passion. She also endured many years of spiritual dryness. She used to say, 'you know, Lord, that my soul has desired nothing apart from you.' She died in 1607.

Writing in a letter to the Carmelite Family ahead of this year's celebrations, the Prior General of the Carmelite Order, Most Rev. Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral, O.Carm., said that "St. Mary Magdelene de'Pazzi is a great mystic who can assist us in our own spirituality. We must confess, however, that she is poorly understood. Therefore, the purpose for this 450th anniversary is to deepen our knowledge of our sister, find connections to our own lives, and, above all, to disseminate what we discover not only within the Carmelite Family but within the Church community in which we live as well."

The anniversary years opens on 2nd April 2016, the anniversary of the saint's birth, and will close on her feast day, 25th May 2017.

The General Council of the Carmelite Order has appointed a commission that will organise, in collaboration with the Carmelite nuns of the Italian Federation, a series of initiatives that will be available through the Order's central website. Throughout the anniversary year visitors will be able to find information about scheduled events, as well as educational and liturgical materials for use at community meetings or in groups.

The Prior General remarks in his letter: "The celebration of an anniversary is not an exercise in archaeology but an opportunity to discover new inspirations from the great figures that preceded us in order that we might, living out our Carmelite vocation, announce the Gospel with renewed enthusiasm ... I sincerely invite you to seize with enthusiasm the opportunity this anniversary presents to us to learn and spread, through a wide variety of projects, the teachings of this extraordinary saint of Carmel who has so much to say to our Order and to the Church today."