1287 - 19 March 1367
A brief biography.
Sibylline Biscossi, - also Sibylline of Pavia -, born at Pavia, Lombardy 1287, became at very young age an orphan and worked as a domestic servant by the age of ten. The cause of her blindness has not come down to us. She was adopted by a community of Dominican Tertiaries at Pavia.
She developed a devotion to Saint Dominic in the hope that his intervention would restore her sight; when it didn't, she came to accept it as her lot in life. She received a vision of Saint Dominic as confirmation of her desire to join the Order.
At age 15 she became a recluse, living in a walled-up cell. She spent her time in prayer and devotion, and her cell soon became a point of pilgrimage for Pavians seeking advice and healing; she lived there for over 60 years, doing penance, performing miracles and spreading the devotion to the Holy Spirit.
Sibylline could sense the Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Once a priest passed her window with the Viaticum for a sick person. She told him that the host was not consecrated; he checked it and found he had taken a host from the wrong container.
She died 19th March 1367 of natural causes and is buried in the cathedral of Pavia. Her body remains uncorrupted. She was beatified 17th August 1854. She is the patron of children whose parents cannot be married, illegitimacy, loss of parents.
Painting by Vincenzo Foppa (1427/1430-1515/1516),
master of the Lombardy School, 15th century.
On his Pala Bottigella, oil on wood, ca.1486, 175 x 124 cm. Dominic of Catalogna, O.P., on the left, presented John Matthew Butigela (Bottigella or Botigella) to the Virgin.
Sibylline Biscossi, O.P., member of the Third Order
of Saint Dominic, on the right. presented Butigela’s wife Bianca Visconto to the Madonna. The panel is preserved in the Civica Pinacoteca Malespina in Pavia.
Malawi 1977, Mi 291, (Bl 50); Sc 313.
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