Saint of the Month for September is Domenica Bernadino

Seit Saint

Sergio and Domenica Bernardini are an Italian couple who are both in the process of canonization and declared venerable because of their heroic virtues. Domenica Bedonni was born in 1889 in Italy. She was a very religious young girl and wanted to actually join a congregation of nuns when she was 18 years old but felt called by God to get married. Domenica was known in her village for being cheerful, lively, very pious, active, and hardworking. She was engaged for a time being but her fiancée was a soldier and died before the wedding. In 1914 she met Sergio Bernardini. Sergio had experienced a great deal of loss in his life even though he was close to the same age as Domenica. His parents, first wife and their children all died within a year of each other due to sickness. He had traveled to work in the mines in the US to pay off the debts from the medical care and funerals. When he came back to Italy, he met Domenica. They married in 1914 and moved to a small farm. They spent their lives focused on family, work and the parish. In 13 years, Sergio and Domenica had ten children, eight girls and two boys. They were simple and devout people, who educated their 10 children in faith and love for the poor. They prayed the rosary as a family daily and would often walk long distances to get to mass each day. They were generous to anyone who sought food or solace, especially during the difficulties of the First World War. This generosity rubbed off on their children and eight of their ten children entered the missionary religious life with different congregations. One of their sons became a bishop in Turkey. When Sergio retired, he and his wife “adopted” a Nigerian seminarian – paying for his priestly education in Rome out of their modest pension. Years later, this seminarian was not only ordained a priest but became a bishop of his hometown in Africa. For the last ten years of his life, Sergio and Domenica visited their children, dedicated their time to prayer and retreats. At the age of 82, Sergio’s health began to decline and he died in 1966 at his home with his wife and children present. Domenica lived with her daughter for 5 years until she passed away in 1971. Pope Francis declared them venerable examples of heroic virtue in 2015.