Daughter of Andrew de’Botti, a merchant. Villana was a pious child, and at age 13 ran away from home to join a convent. She was refused and had to return home. Soon after, her family married her to Rosso di Piero.
The rejection at the convent and the marriage seemed to change Villana. She suddenly became lazy and worldly, concerned only with pleasure. One day as she was getting dressed for some type of entertainment, her reflection in all her mirrors suddenly changed to a demon. Villana understood this to be a reflection of her sin-laden soul. She tore off her clothes, put on something poor and simple, and ran to the Dominican Fathers of Santa Maria Novella for help.
She became a Dominican tertiary, concentrated on her vocation of married life, and spent her free time praying and reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. Her desire to atone for her earlier life sometimes overwhelmed her, and her husband and family had to stop her begging door to door and doing other penances. She was given to religious ecstasies at Mass, but became the object of much ridicule and slander. Her health suffered, but she received visions of Our Lady and the saints, and had the gift of prophecy. Even her fiercest opponents eventually came to see her as a living saint.
- 29 January 1361 of natural causes
- body taken to Santa Maria Novella
- the Fathers were unable to bury her for a month due to the constant crowd of mourners
O God, our merciful Father, you called Blessed Villana back from the emptiness of the world and aroused in her a spirit of humility and true penitence. Recreate in our hearts the power of your love and, filled by that same spirit, may we serve you in newness of life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. – General Calendar of the Order of Preachers
- “Blessed Villana de’Botti“. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 November 2016. Web. 23 January 2017. <>