Blessed Paula Gambara Costa

detail of an illustrated of Blessed Paula distributing alms, date and artist unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiAlso known as

  • Countess Costa



Born to the nobility, the eldest of seven children born to Giampaolo Gambara and Taddea Caterina Martinengo. In her youth, Paula showed an affinity to a quiet and devout life, felt a call to religious orders, and spent her spare time spent in prayer and spiritual reading. However, in the autumn of 1485 she was given in an arranged marriage to the Lodovico Antonio Costa, Count of Benasco, Piedmont in modern Italy. Mother of Giovanni Francesco in 1488; she celebrated by distributing large amounts of food to the poor. Lodovico was a philaderer who enjoyed the worldly life, the party life, hunting, feasting, and was abusive and contempuous with Paula for her pious life and her devotion to the poor; his mistress moved into the castle to live with them both in 1494, and soon after Paula began suffering severe migraines. She discussed the matter with her confessor and spiritual director, Blessed Angelo of Chiavasso, and decided to make the conversion of Lodovico the focus of her spiritual life, joining the Franciscan tertiaries in 1491, suffering the abuse of both her husband and their servants, and putting the needs of the poor and the sick above her own. Miracles are reported where bread given to the poor would multiply, and barrels of drink that her husband emptied would suddenly refil. Her prayers were finally answered in 1504 when Lodovico had a conversion, received a miraculous healing at the grave of Blessed Angelo Carletti, and became a penitent man; Paula began wearing her Franciscan habit in public instead of under her gowns as she had done until then. Widowed in late 1504, Paula devoted her remaining years to God and charity, which included financing the re-building of some area convents and monasteries.






Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Paula Gambara Costa“. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 March 2020. Web. 27 July 2021. <>