Antonietta Meo was born in Rome, in the year 1930, the fourth daughter of upright and believing parents. At home she learned the first truths of the faith, while the Catholic atmosphere of Rome at the time also contributed favorably toward her religious formation.
When four years old, due to an inflammation in the knee that didn’t appear worrisome at first, the doctors discovered that she was the victim of a terrible illness: osteosarcoma. The torments that she underwent from that time on would make even the bravest of men shudder: painful and practically useless treatments, including the amputation of her left leg, followed by the steady advance of the disease, which even affected her lungs. The doctors were amazed to see how such a small person could endure such great sufferings.
But the most impressive aspect of the situation was, without a doubt, Antonietta’s attitude toward her ordeal. For, the more she learned of the sufferings of the life of Jesus, the more she identified her own state with that of Christ, discovering in the Passion a true motive for her pain: ‘Dear Crucified Jesus, I really wish You well and I love You so much. I want to be on Calvary with You and I suffer with joy because I know how to be on Calvary. Dear Jesus. Thanks that You have sent me this illness because it’s a way to arrive in Paradise. Dear Jesus, tell God the Father that I love Him so much, Him too. Dear Jesus, I want to be Your lamp and Your Lily dear Jesus, dear Jesus give me the strength necessary to stand the pains that I offer for sinners…’ (Letter no. 162, May 2, 1937)
Antonietta died when she was seven years old, and today her body lies in her parish church, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. There are many people who hopefully await the recognition of her heroic virtues and elevation to the altar.
In the same city of the Popes, a scene that took place last May reminds us of the example of ‘Nennolina’: the Pope received children affected by grave illnesses accompanied by their parents. These children, whose bodies suffer infirmity, enjoy in their souls the fruits of baptism and the blessings of the Church. They awaited a word of encouragement, hoping that the Pope, as the Father of the Church and especially attentive to all in need, would enlighten them on the significance of their atrocious sufferings.
However, expounding once again on his strange outlook on of the topic of suffering already mentioned in his Apostolic Journey to the Philippines, Francis once again stated that this is a situation that has no explanation, and that the only solution for the children and their parents is to weep.
To top off these perplexing statements, Francis applied an entirely rationalistic sense to the reactions of the Sorrowful Mother and her Divine Son. According to Francis, the Blessed Virgin didn’t comprehend what was happening at Calvary, and her Son didn’t have a clear idea of our troubles until the moment that he wept.
We are at a loss for words …for if the teachings of the Church explain this question, would any other explanation be expected from the Vicar of Christ? Read on…