A model lay woman, Anne Mary Taigi managed a large household in Rome for nearly half a century. She handled finances with little money, patiently cared for a cantankerous family, and entertained a constant stream of guests who came to consult her. Even though Anne Mary was blessed with charisms of prophecy and healing, it was not these gifts, but her resilient leadership of her family through poverty and trouble that earned her a saint’s crown.
An impoverished servant girl herself, at age twenty-one she married Domenico Taigi, a servant in the Chigi Palace. They had seven children, two of whom died at childbirth. Early in her marriage, Anne Mary experienced a religious conversion. She took a Servite priest as a spiritual guide. Under his direction, she simplified her life, initiating practices of prayer and self-denial that she pursued the rest of her life. Anne Mary took the spiritual lead in her family. The day began with morning prayer and mass and ended with reading lives of the saints and the rosary. The Taigis had little of their own, but she always found ways to provide for those who had less. She also took in her hard-to-get-along-with parents and her widowed daughter, Sophie, with her six children.
Domenico had a violent temper that often disrupted the family. But somehow Anne Mary was always able to calm him and restore peace. In his old age, Domenico gave this touching tribute to his wife:
Often I came home to a house full of people. Immediately, Anne Mary would leave anyone who was there—maybe a great lady or a bishop—and would hurry to pay affectionate attention to me. You could tell she did it with all her heart.
With her wonderful tact she was able to maintain a heavenly peace in our home. For example, when my son Camillus was living with us early in his marriage, my daughter-in-law was a disturbing element. She always wanted to play the mistress of the house. But my wife knew how to keep everyone in his place and she did it with a graciousness that I can’t describe.
I often came home tired, moody and cross, but she always succeeded in soothing and cheering me. And due to her, I corrected some of my faults. But if I were a young man and could search the whole world to find such a wife, it would be vain. I believe that God has received her into heaven because of her great virtue.
Reportedly, Anne Mary had a permanent vision that gave her insight into the causes of evil in the world and dangers that threatened the church. She also had a gift of healing. For example, with a sign of the cross she anointed cancer victims and epileptics and they were cured. After seven months of sickness and spiritual trials, Anne Mary Taigi died on June 9, 1837.
from Voices of the Saints, by Bert Ghezzi