Ven. Antonietta Meo is known for offering her cancer sufferings to Jesus. If she is canonized, she will become the youngest (non- martyred) saint.
This is her inspiring story.
Antonietta Meo (known as Nennolina) was born December 15, 1930 in Rome, Italy. At age three, she attended a Catholic School. She was known as a kind and joyful child. Upon seeing a poor person, she wanted to give him her money. She was smart and active in games.
When Antonietta was only four years old, her parents noticed a swelling on her left leg. They thought it was just a small injury from one of her falls. After multiple wrong diagnoses, the doctors said that the swelling was an aggressive form of bone cancer. When she was five, her leg was amputated.
She was given an artificial leg and returned to school. During the evenings, her mother would read her the Catechism. During this time she would also write letters to Jesus, Mary and the saints. In total she wrote over 100 letters. She placed these letters at the statue of baby Jesus in her room so that He could read them at night. In these letters she told Jesus that she had sinned. She also told Him that she offered herself to Him.
Her mother suggested she write a letter to the Mother Superior of the nuns that taught her. She wrote and asked to receive her First Communion early. On Christmas Day of 1936, she received her first communion. In pain and with her artificial leg, she knelt reverently through Mass with her hands folded. In a letter right before this she told Jesus that without His grace she could do nothing.
The pain worsened and she could no longer sit up in bed. Her tumor was spreading throughout her body. The pain she endured, she offered to Jesus. In a letter she said that she gave her leg to Him. She said, “The pain is like fabric, the stronger it is the more value it has.”
A few days before her death, she insisted on writing a letter to Jesus. In the letter she asked Him to bless everyone she loved and for grace to bear the pain. She ended with the words, “Your little girl sends you a lot of kisses.”
On July 3, 1937, the night of her death, she begged her mother not to cry. She told her that Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus had told her that her time had come. Smiling, she took her last breath. She was only six years old when she died.
On December 17, 2007, she was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI. Her life was a witness of sanctity for children who suffer. He said that she was an example of faith and hope among other Christian virtues. He said to learn to know her and follow her example.
Ven. Antonietta Meo, pray for us!
[See also: 5 Rare Photos from Pope Francis’ Childhood]