Benedetta Bianchi Porro
Benedetta Bianchi Porro was born in the village of Dovadola (Forlė) on the 8th of August 1936. In 1951 she moved with her family to Sirmione on Lake Garda. It was at this time that the first symptoms of serious illness began to appear with deafness and atrophy of the legs. At the age of 17 she enrolled in the faculty of medicine at Milan University.
This was the beginning of her Calvary. Long stays in hospital, endless consultations, operations, suffering, increasing disablement and humiliation could not make her give up her dream of becoming a doctor. She wrote in her diary, "I've always dreamed of becoming a doctor. I want to live, fight, sacrifice myself for people everywhere"
Inexorably beleaguered by disease she was forced to leave university when she had just reached her last exam. Deaf, totally paralysed, deprived of her physical senses, she went on, following a final operation, to become blind as well. Her only remaining links with the world were a thread of a voice and one hand with some remaining sensibility which was used for communicating with her in a deaf and dumb alphabet.
Benedetta bore supreme witness to the suffering and risen Christ. Crucified herself, she sang the wonders of life, she forgot herself for other people, she made the desert of her life flower with priceless friendships, she lived her suffering as a mystery of love and a source of grace.
To everyone who came in contact with her she communicated hope. Her faith worked wonders. Benedetta's earthly life came to an end on the 23rd of January 1964 at Sirmione. At the moment of her death a white rose bloomed in the garden beneath her window.
Benedetta has been declared venerable person in 1994 and it doesn't seem far away the day in which she will be proclamed saint.