- Sister Maria Giuseppa Benedetta
Daughter of Luigi and Maria Giannotti. Cistercian nun, joining on 2 July 1858 and taking the name Maria Giuseppa Benedetta. In November 1861 she became paralyzed on the right side of her body; she had to have parts of her body suspended by ropes and bands because of the intense pain, the problem of bed sores, and difficulty breathing that accompanied the loss of muscle control. With her one free hand she made artificial flowers, did embroidery, and wrote letters to people who asked her advice. Ersilia took her 52 year ordeal as a chance to practice humility, and to set an example of peace and diginity in suffering. She became a sought after advisor and spiritual counselor, and she received the gift of discernment of spirit to help with this work. Those who came to her include Blessed Bartholomew Longo and Saint Luigi Orione, who became a close friend. She was never known to complain, but instead worked to elevate the spirits of any who came to see her.
- 10 May 1913 in the Cistercian convent infirmary in Viterbo, Italy of natural causes
- buried in the city cemetery at Viterbo
- re-interred in the Cistercian chapel of the Child Jesus on 10 December 1927
- “Venerable Ersilia Penelope Frey“. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 October 2015. Web. 9 December 2016. <>