Saint Paola Elisabetta Cerioli

Also known as

  • Constanse Honorata Cerioli
  • Constantia Honorata
  • Costanza Cerioli Buzecchi-Tasis
  • Costanza Onorata
  • Paula Elisabeth



Born to Italian nobility, the youngest of 16 children of Francesco Cerioli and Francesca Corniani; she was born with a heart condition and slight spinal deformity that gave her a lifetime of frail health. Educated in Bergamo, Italy. On 30 April 1835, at age 19, she entered into an arranged marriage with 59 year old Gaetano Busecchi; he was a difficult man with poor health, and their 19 year marriage was a bit of a trial. Mother of three – one of died in infancy, one at age one, and her son Carlo died in 1854` at age 16; her husband died a few months later. A wealthy widow alone, Paola began sharing her wealth with poor and caring for orphans and neglected children, sometimes taking them into her own home. Feeling a call to religious life, she took a vow of chastity on 25 December 1856, vows of povery and obedience on 8 February 1857. Founded the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Comonte di Seriate, Bergamo, Italy in December 1867, taking taking the name Paola Elisabetta; it’s mission is to help abandoned children and work with new parents. She founded a corresponding men’s Congregation of the Holy Family on 4 November 1863.






Additional Information


Paola Elisabetta understood that families remain strong when the bonds among their members are sustained and kept together by sharing the values of faith and a Christian way of life. – from the canonization homily by Pope John Paul II

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Paola Elisabetta Cerioli“. CatholicSaints.Info. 23 December 2013. Web. 23 October 2016. <>