Emily Bicchieri was born at Vercelli, Italy on May 3, 1238. She lost her mother while she was very young. Because of this, Emily put herself under the protection Mary, Mother of God. She had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and truly communed with her as though she were her own mother.
Emily refused her father’s plans for her to marry, as she was certain her vocation laid elsewhere. She successfully convinced her father to build a convent for her, instead. This was the first of the Dominican regular tertiaries and Emily became abbess when she was only twenty years old. However, she was elected prioress against her will. Still, she took her post with civility and humility and thus governed with tact and ability.
One great mark of Emily’s reign as prioress was that she was careful to tell no one to do what she would not do herself. This is such an act of humility, understanding, and love. How often do we feel overburdened with things no one else wants or will do? Likewise, how often do we speak well of superiors or bosses or spouses who do not ask what they would not be willing to do for us, as well? Hers is a great example to us as leaders, friends, and parents.
Her example is also a great reminder that Jesus asks no more from us than He is willing to give Himself and also walks with us in these things. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
Emily died on her birthday, May 3, at the age of seventy-six, and her cult was approved in 1769.
Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beata_Emilia_Bicchieri.jpg