Before the Successor of St. Peter
The day after receiving in writing the papal blessing for the founding of the Congregation, Francis went to the Vatican to most likely thank the prelate who had helped in obtaining it. With virtually no other sources describing the event, we will refer once again to Sr. Augustyna Pietrzykowska’s written-down accounts of the Foundress, to which the Sisters “convinced” her. Although Sr. Augustyna wrote them down when she was already elderly, they were considered quite reliable.
“On October 2, Mother went to ask for an audience to thank the Holy Father, and Mons. Macchi (later Cardinal) thought for a while, and then says if she would like to go now, that there is an audience just now, and asked if Mother had a veil for her head. Mother says that only the one by the hat, he advised to leave the hat with him and put the veil on her head (apparently, the Monsignor even helped Mother with this). Thus Mother went to the Holy Father Pius IX, thanked him for his blessing (…)”.
Well, it seems that 150 years ago the opportunity to get to the Pope was much easier than today…
The biography of the aforementioned Monsignor Macchi can easily be found on Wikipedia. Born in 1832 in Viterbo, Luigi Macchi began holding many important and confidential positions in the Papal Household shortly after his ordination. Pius IX’s successor, Leo XIII, elevated him to the dignity of cardinal in 1889. Sr. Augustyna, writing down the Foundress’ memoirs after her death, is aware of this fact and therefore includes the information “later cardinal” next to his name. Luigi Macchi died five years after Francis and was buried, like her, in the Campo Verano cemetery in Rome.
He also deserves our gratitude for such an important service rendered to our Mother Foundress.
Photos – Wikipedia – Public Domain:
Cardinal Luigi Macchi, 1900