Brothers who stretch out their hands
I go to prepare you a place for you.
Alessandra was the daughter of Antonio Starabba Marquis of Rudini, who occupied the highest and most prestigious political offices in the government of Italy, after the country was united.
The untimely death of her husband to tuberculosis, in 1900, left her with two young children and in a very intense pain. A widow at twenty-four, she was seized by terrible moments of vertigo that were driving her crazy. To escape loneliness, she agreed to travel and spend long periods of time in Rome and Paris. After having enrolled her two sons in a private school, she began a life "of stormy passions." In November 1903, by chance, she met Gabriele D'Annunzio, who, at that time, lived with Eleonora Duse. The poet was dazzled by the charm of Alessandra and planned to use all his strategies to conquer her and seduce her. Alessandra, in her pride resisted at first, but then ... "It was the delirium of the senses, the pungent passion, the overwhelming love and carelessness, the madness of an uninterrupted relationship for almost five years. No restraint, no respect for her position, impossible to stop this relationship ... ".
She lived in the most ostentatious luxury, Persian rugs, brocades, ivory, silver, jewels, cars, expensive clothes, parties... But suddenly a disease took hold of her body . For two years the pain was a torment, she was operated on, three times in a clinic in Florence. The inner emptiness was something more terrible.
One day she said to a young man who was religious and practicing, "You do not know what it means to look for the light and not being able to find it, it is complete unhappiness." She was in complete desolation and doubt. But, even in the darkness, she was still looking. He repeated: "For years I have been tormented, with anguish and unspeakable misery by the problem of the afterlife ... What a terrible torment is wanting to love, to hope, and not being able to do it".
It was abbot Gaston Gorel, tutor and teacher of the French language to her sons, who proposed to the marchioness a pilgrimage to Lourdes. The environment of Lourdes collapsed in Alessandra any form of pride and self-sufficiency. There, her soul, in extreme simplicity, was placed in front of the truth. At that moment, she felt transported back to her youth. Like, in her youth, she had run, decisively and overwhelmingly toward sin and corruption, now, she walked, illuminated by the new light of the grace of God, toward the perfection of a religious life and decided to enter
a monastery and become a Carmelite nun.
The sons, Andrea and Antonio fell ill with tuberculosis and were hospitalized in a sanatorium, Alessandra interpreted this as a sign that she should go to France to Carmel Paray-le-Monial, "the city of the Sacred Heart." Because she felt deep in her heart to follow God's will , she wrote: "... Our Lord wants me to protect and save my vocation, above all else ... Ah! Of course, I am putting this over a mother's heart, but the certainty that gives to the spirit the exact and clear perception of God's will, should be above every other feeling. I am happy in my pain ...".
Alessandra Rudin became Sister Mary of Jesus, offered to the Lord the burning pain experienced after the announcement of the death of her children, between 1916 and 1917, in six months, the two boys were defeated by tuberculosis. The long prayers and and the vote of silence worked in her a rapid and visible transformation. Sister Mary of Jesus, was assigned to the delicate office of novice mistress and then she became prioress of the Carmel. She directed the work to restructure the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, then she started to found three other Carmeli.
To meet the major expenditure necessary for the construction of these buildings,she sold all her properties in Italy. This great soul, in twenty years of Carmelite life, gave many proofs of high virtues. Since the conversion in Lourdes until her death, a wonderful crescendo happened in her transformation in Christ.