20th Century Atheist Turned Theologian Moves One Step Closer to Sainthood – EpicPew

20th Century Atheist Turned Theologian Moves One Step Closer to Sainthood

Rome – Venerable Itala Mela’s parents were both atheist college professors and she herself left the Catholic Church after the death of her brother. But after an incredible re-conversion when she was eighteen years old, Itala dedicated her life to the study of theology and the Trinity.

Her writings and mysticism have encouraged the Catholic Church to investigate into the cause for her sainthood. Her beatification, which is one step closer to sainthood, will take place on June 10, 2017.

Born in 1904, she was raised by her maternal grandparents, who were Catholic. Under their care, she received the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Her brother Enrico, age nine, died suddenly when Itala was only eleven years old.  After his death, Itala abandoned Catholicism, and hopelessly wrote, “After his death, nothing”.

She experienced an incredible re-conversion to the faith on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The re-conversion experience was sparked by an invitation to return to the sacraments. After her return to Catholicism, she wrote that her life motto would be: “Lord, I shall follow You unto the darkness, unto death.”

Itala attended the University of Genova, where she earned a degree in classical studies. While attending the university, she joined the FUCI (Federation of Italian Catholic Universities) where she met incredible players in the Catholic Church, including the future Pope Paul VI. She also became friends with Alfredo Ildefonso Shuster, who would later become the Archbishop of Milan during World War II.


At age 24, she saw her first vision of God through a beam of light in the church tabernacle. This was the first of many visions she would experience in her lifetime.

Later in life, Itala became a Benedictine Oblate of the Abbey of Saint Paul in Rome, where she took the name Sister Maria of the Trinity. Her mission in life became to bring others to the beauty of the Holy Trinity.  In 1946, she wrote a series of spiritual exercises for the faithful, which were received well by her community.

She died April 29, 1957 at the age of fifty-three, and her body was later moved to the La Spezia Cathedral in 1983.

In 2007, Ligurian bishops named Itala the most significant figure among Italian Catholics in 20th century.

On December 14, 2015 Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, who is the Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. After the meeting, the Congregation published the decree affirming a miracle attributed to Itala and moved her one step closer to sainthood. The decree read:

“The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Itala Meta, Benedictine Oblate of the Monastery of Saint Paul in Rome; born in La Spezia, Italy, 28 August 1904, and died there 29 April 1957.”

The beatification will take place in Itala’s home town of La Spezia in Italy, where Cardinal Angelo Amato will preside on behalf of Pope Francis