Today at the Poor Clares I offered the Mass of St. Hyacinth Mariscotti, about whom I know nothing.
Sister sacristan gave me the following brief account of Hyacinth's life and holiness, from which I drew great encouragement.
Here's what sister told me. I have not checked any of it, but I do try to capture sister's hilarious tone in telling the story:
When Hyacinth was growing up, she went to a certain convent school. The sisters found her to be a difficult and conceited child. Everyone found her very trying and annoying, and the sisters were glad to be rid of her when she graduated.
Having grown up, she wanted to marry some important man, but was spurned. Out of spite, she decided to become a nun. (I guess there were wider limits on what counted as a 'vocation story' in those days.) When she returned to the convent seeking entrance, the sisters were alarmed. Somehow or other she was admitted, and the sisters discovered that the difficult and conceited child had grown into an even more difficult and conceited woman.
After some years of religious life, Hyacinth had some sort of illness, and had a conversion experience. She apologized to the sisters for all of the years she had been such a pain, started to do penance, and thereafter became an exemplary religious.
I find this story very hopeful. May God grant me to accept such a grace of conversion!Two years later I find myself in a very different sort of life, one aspect of which is praying the Divine Office from the Liturgia delle ore secondo il rito romano e il calendario serafico, i.e. the Italian version of the Roman-Franciscan Liturgy of the Hours, and it turns out to have a little blurb on good old Hyacinth. It seems she was an Orsini, which is no small thing, and was baptized Clarice.
A quote claims to be from a "little diary" in her own hand, in which Hyacinth describes the first fifteen years of her religious life, saying that it was "of many vanities and stupidities in which I have lived in sacred religion."
Depending on how you count, I'm up to either twelve and a half or thirteen years of religious life, so there's still hope that I might accept the grace of conversion from a life of vanity and stupidity!