We honor today the memory of an Augustinian nun whose great love for religious life and generous attention to the needs of others, drew many to follow her example as consecrated women or as more committed lay persons. By means of the joyful and faithful practice of one's faith, others can find the possibility of belief and the path to interior happiness and peace.
Magdalene was born at Como in the region of Lombardy, Italy, about 1415. As a young woman she joined a small community which had formed outside the walls of the city and was living according to Saint Augustine's Rule. Under her wise guidance this house eventually was established formally as a convent, named for Sant'Andrea, while remaining under the Augustinian Rule, and began to attract a number of women desiring to live as religious. Magdalene was elected superior and continued as such almost continually for life. Eventually she obtained affiliation of her convent with the Observant Congregation of the Augustinians of Lombardy who served the nuns as chaplains. Magdalene was a vigorous promoter of Augustinian life, establishing new convents and, by the depth of her own spirituality and the magnetism of her personality, drawing existing ones to adopt the Augustinian Rule. She was widely sought after as a spiritual guide, as well, and in this role furthered the spread of the Third Order. A spirit of penance and contemplation as well as devotion to the sick and needy were special characteristics of her life. Magdalene died in the middle of May, 1465, following a long and difficult illness which severely limited her activities in her later years, but which she accepted with resignation. Such great numbers of the faithful made their way to the convent at the news of her passing, that her burial had to be postponed for several days. When, in 1593, the nuns from Sant'Andrea in Brunate moved to the convent of Saint Julian near Como, Magdalene's remains were also transferred there. Presently, they are interred in the cathedral of Como. Pius X confirmed her cult on December 10, 1907.
Due to the depth of her own spirituality and the strength of her religious convictions, Magdalene became an attractive witness to the validity of a religious vocation. She loved Augustine's vision of religious life as the means for spiritual growth and confidently promoted it among religious and laity alike. She let her light shine before others in order that they too might be enlightened.