Saint February 5 : Blessed Elizabeth Canori a Wife of an Unfaithful Husband and Mother who Belonged to the 3rd Order of Trinitarians

Elisabetta Canori Mora was born in Rome on November 21, 1774 to Tommaso and Teresa Primoli.
Her is a wealthy family, deeply Christian and attentive to the education of their children. Her father was an important landowner and managed many agricultural estates, an old-fashioned gentleman, he administered without greed disdaining abuse and oppression.
The Canori couple have twelve children, six of whom die in the first years of life. When she is born she Elisabetta she finds five male brothers and a sister, Maria; after two years another sister arrives, Benedetta.
Within a few years, the bad harvests, the death of the cattle and the insolvency of the creditors, the economic situation changes and Tommaso Canori is forced to resort to the help of a brother who lives in Spoleto who takes care of his nieces Elisabetta and Benedetta. The uncle decides to entrust the nieces to the Augustinian Sisters of the monastery of S. Rita da Cascia, here Elisabetta stands out for her intelligence, profound interior life and spirit of penance. She returned to Rome, for some years she led a brilliant and worldly life, making herself known for the refinement of her features and the beauty of her. Elizabeth will judge this period of her life as a "betrayal", even if her moral consistency does not fail her and her religious sensitivity is somehow safeguarded.
A high prelate who knows the economic problems and the spiritual qualities of the Canori family well, proposes to let Elizabeth and Benedetta enter the monastery of the Oblates of St. Philip, taking on all the expenses. Benedetta accepts and becomes a nun in 1795, Elisabeth no, she doesn't feel like leaving the family in difficulty.
On 10 January 1796 in the church of Santa Maria in Campo Corleo, she married.
 At the age of 22, she marries a young lawyer, Cristopher Mora, who succumbs to the flattery of a woman of low status and reduces the family to poverty, while not abandoning the marital roof. Elizabeth then decides to live in total fidelity to her husband and to her two daughters whom she painstakingly maintains with her job. Her strength comes from intense prayer, from her faithful belonging to the Trinitarian Third Order and from the persuasion that her sacrament of Matrimony truly linked her to Christopher in a precious and indissoluble way. She gives herself for the conversion of her husband, for the Pope, the Church and her city of Rome, where she died on February 5, 1825. Cristopher Mora later became a priest and a conventual Franciscan. Elisabetta Canori Mora was beatified on April 24, 1994 in Rome by Saint John Paul II. Her mortal remains of her are venerated in the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (San Carlino) in Rome.
Roman Martyrology: In Rome, Blessed Elisabetta Canori Mora, mother of a family, who, after having suffered for a long time due to her husband's infidelity, economic hardship and cruel harassment by relatives, endured everything with unsurpassed charity and patience and he offered his life to the Lord for the conversion, salvation, peace and sanctification of sinners by joining the Third Order of the Most Holy Trinity.

A marriage, which seems to be the culmination of a wonderful love story, shatters in a very short time, worm-eaten by 27 long years of marital betrayal, with wide spaces of lucid madness interspersed with episodes of swashbuckling physical violence, hazards and financial waste that bring indigence. It is a story of ordinary adultery and brazen libertinage, not at all dated even if they date back to two centuries ago, in which only the ending is a surprise, because it is interwoven with the imperceptible very thin weave of a mercy in a "family size".
Elizabeth Canori, beautiful and very sweet daughter of a wealthy landowner, on 10 January 1796 marries Cristopher Mora, son of a renowned Roman doctor who seems to have all the credentials to be a "good match", as cultured, cultured, religious , with a consolidated career as a lawyer. He also seems very much in love with his young wife, who, if it is an added value in an authentic love marriage, ends up being more than a wake-up call if pushed almost to the excess of idolatry for the beauty of his wife, forced to do nothing so as not to get tired or tired and also prevented from sewing or embroidering so that her tapered, very white fingers would not harden.
It is obviously a question of a sick love, which soon turns into obsessive jealousy: Cristopher manages to prevent his wife from making any contact with the outside world, preventing her from meeting anyone, even her parents.
Just as quickly, the paranoid jealousy is replaced by an icy coldness and the most total indifference towards his wife, because Cristopher has fallen in love with another woman, because of which he begins to desert his work and his home, always returning late at night , if not at the first light of dawn, after evenings of sex, games and partying.
The birth of the daughters Marianna in 1799 and Maria Lucina in 1801 does not improve things. Forced to earn a living with the work of her own hands, she follows her daughters and the daily care of the house with the utmost attention, while dedicating a lot of space to prayer, to the service of the poor and to assistance to the sick.
Her home becomes a point of reference for many people who come to her for material and spiritual needs. She carries out an action that is particularly attentive to families in difficulty. Know and deepen the spirituality of the Trinitarians and embrace their secular order, responding with dedication to the family vocation and to secular consecration.
The lover has managed to ensnare him to the point of progressively sucking his substances and making him neglect his profession, reducing him to the pavement. And, this, despite Elizabeth having given birth to him in the meantime four daughters, only two of which, however, manage to survive.
Unfaithful husband and completely absent father, he does not feel the slightest guilt in leaving the family deprived of what is necessary, but at least he has the good taste to grant his wife ample freedom on the education of the girls.
She takes advantage of it to make them grow with the principles that inspire him, because the betrayal, even if brazenly consumed in the light of the sun, has not managed to harden her heart or mortify her femininity.
She has proposed to practice gentleness, exercise patience and never get angry and so every night she waits for her man, just out of the arms of another woman, welcoming him as the most faithful of husbands. She is certainly not succubus or subjugated by him, she becomes capable of challenging his adultery with gentleness, aware that as for him he binds her by virtue of the sacrament of marriage, it is far superior to any betrayal.
He goes so far as to pray for his "rival in love", hoping to have her next to him in heaven and that this is not goodness he demonstrates by teaching his daughters to respect that woman who, humanly speaking, just does not deserve it. Not for convenience, much less for her servile submission, she remains tied to him, perhaps with the secret hope of recovering and converting him, because she feels responsible for her salvation. After stripping off her few jewels and even putting her wedding dress up for sale to pay off some of her husband's many debts, she goes to beg from creditors, swallowing the humiliations that this gives her and only stops when bolder among these they dare to advance sexual blackmail. No help from her comes from her relatives, on the contrary further bitterness that sharpens, if possible, the sense of complete abandonment of her. Harshly challenged by her father-in-law and harshly criticized by the two sisters-in-law, she can find a minimum of support only from her mother-in-law, who becomes her accomplice in hiding, secretly from her husband, some debt, gives her something to eat and helps her in the education of the girls . She is also the only one to support Elizabeth's charitable activity, allowing her to collect what is left over from her meals or that her daughters throw in the garbage, to distribute it to the many poor to whom she helps. being in extreme poverty, she is not considered so poor as to ignore beggars or assist the abandoned sick. Humiliated but not defeated, betrayed but by no means a loser, Elizabeth manages to cope with her adulterous husband by building her own free, patient and merciful personality, which does not allow itself to be bent by derision, deprivation or even threats. Not as a reward, much less for revenge against a husband who is defaulting from all points of view, she accepts that Jesus comes "to be father and guest", through a Christian maturation that she accomplishes thanks to the help of enlightened spiritual counselors.
She adheres to the Trinitarian Third Order and discovers her vocation in the Church: to be a gift of love in Christ, animated by the Spirit, for the glory of the Father and for the salvation of her own and of all the slaves and the poor, starting with her husband, because it is difficult to find who is more slave to his passions and spiritually poorer than him.
Her diary, written out of obedience to the confessor and published with the title "In the heart of the Trinity", tells of her asceticism, in heroic fidelity to a man who even comes to demand from her, under the threat of a knife aimed at her throat. , a written authorization to associate with the lover, in the hope of thus escaping the jail which, at that time, adulterers and immoral people were facing.
The denunciation of adultery starts with the sisters, but it is mainly Elizabeth who pays for it, for whom the most difficult and delicate period begins, in which there is to be feared for her own safety. Friends, relatives and even some confessors advise her to abandon a violent, vulgar and dangerous husband, who could even kill her, but she stubbornly refuses, feeling protected by prayer and her intimacy with Jesus.
She does not do it out of opportunism or moralism, let alone less for economic reasons, having now reached self-sufficiency with her sewing jobs, which allow her to provide for the maintenance of the family by herself, including her husband, but because she feels tied to him out of fidelity to the fateful "yes" pronounced in front of the 'altar.
It seems that his heroism, combined with an intense spiritual life, is rewarded in a singular way through special gifts: mystical experiences, scrutiny of hearts, spirit of prophecy, thaumaturgical powers that make his little house a privileged place to welcome, console, heal many physical and moral wounds of his contemporaries.
It is natural that in her, already considered the saint patient of betrayed women, families in difficulty should find particular welcome. To her husband's frequent mockery and ridicule, she now replies with obscure phrases, with a vague prophetic flavor: "Laugh, laugh, you will say Mass and confess", or: "Christmas Eve will come for you too".
She died on February 5, 1825, just fifty years old. In the 40 days of illness she realizes that Cristopher is more present, perhaps even willing to watch over her, but he does not have the joy of seeing him changed: his habits have remained unchanged, even on the night of February 4, when he goes out for his usual nocturnal entertainment, returning as always at dawn the next day. 
That morning, however, Elizabeth, is not waiting for him, awake as her habit, because she has been expiring for a few hours and the uncontrollable sobbing in front of her corpse is the completely unexpected reaction of Christopher: not crocodile tears as one could maliciously deduce, but a purifying tears, which seem to want to cancel the 27 years of torture he inflicted on her.
She gives herself for the conversion of her husband, for the Pope, the Church and her city ​​of Rome, where she died on February 5, 1825. She is buried in the Church of San Carlino.
From that precise moment begins the conversion process of Christopher, who, it will be discovered later, a few months earlier he also saw his lover die in his arms. From unrepentant don Juan transformed into the most blameless widower, he seeks, in tears and in prayer, forgiveness for his past in a path that begins with falling in love with Elizabeth for the second time, with whom he recognizes that he "made her a saint with her labors ", passes through the public amnesty of her sins stating that" such a mother is not found in the world, and I am unworthy to have been her consort "and ends with her entry into the Franciscans and her priesthood ordination in 1834, thus fulfilling his wife's "prophecy". He will die on 8 September eleven years later with fame as a saint, becoming the best masterpiece of Elisabeth Canori Mora, whom the Church proclaimed blessed on 24 April 1994 together with Gianna Beretta Molla: both, according to the expression of John Paul II, "Women of heroic love".
Author: Gianpiero Pettiti

"I detached myself from vanities, I overcome many obstacles that prevented me from going to God ...".
"I propose not to desire anything that is of my own profit, but to fulfill God's holy will in every instant of my life".
"My beloved daughter, offer yourself to my heavenly Father for the benefit of the Church: I promise you my help ...".
(from the autobiography)
"Such a mother is not found in the world, and I am unworthy to be her consort."
(her husband Cristoforo to her daughters).