The noble Lady Lorenza Longo was born in Catalonia Spain in 1463. She was married to a nobleman, John Long, who was chancellor of the counsel of King Fernando of Aragon. In a visit of the king to Naples, in 1506, she and her husband were among his companions.
During a party, she was poisoned by a resentful servant. She did not die but as a consequence, she was paralyzed. After the death of her husband, she established herself in Naples.
In 1510 she was miraculously healed during a visit to the sanctuary of Loreto. During the reading of the Gospel of the crippled man, she felt a healing power that came to her, making her completely cured. In addition to the healing of body, the Lord restored the health of her spirit. After this she dedicated herself to serve the Lord.
Lady Lorenza together with other noblewomen of Naples dedicated themselves to works of Charity, seeing Christ in the poor and the sick. She was part of several associations of Prayer and sacred Scripture study. She put her faith into practice in serving Christ in the poor and needy.
To alleviate the sufferings of the sick, Lady Lorenza enlisted the aid of others and built a hospital together with other members of the association of the Divine Love. She was the heart of the association and devoted herself to works of charity giving special aid and care to the sick. This was one of the biggest projects that they did. The hospital was especially for the Poor and uncured people. It was established in 1522. Lady Lorenza begged alms to support it, and also supported it with her own wealth. She was the director of the hospital for many years. She lived there and served the sick with her own hands.
Main facade of the Hospital founded for María Lorenza Longo
“Ospedale Degli Incurabili”
Bull from Pope Paul III
During this time Lady Lorenza entrusted her spiritual life to the guidance of Saint Caetano. She entrusted to him her desire to found a monastery under the Rule of Saint Clare.
In 1530 the Capuchins brothers arrived at Naples. The Venerable Mother Lorenza hosted them in the hospital that she directed. She was very much impressed by the way of life of the Capuchin brothers.
In 1538 the same Pontiff recognize the new foundation as a monastery of very strict observance of the Order of Saint Clare. The monastery could have an abbess, 12 Choir sisters and 7 converses sisters.
In the Bull of Paulo III, the title of abbess and foundress was given to the venerable Lorenza. She governed the new monastery and directed it to a more faithful observance of the charisma of Saint Francis and Saint Clare.
Many ladies wanted to join the new monastery, so she asked permission to the Pope to go to a bigger place and be able to accept more candidates. The Pope gave her permission to receive more candidates. She could admit 33 sisters.
The name of the first monastery of Capuchin Poor Clares sisters was Santa Maria de Jerusalem of the Order Of Saint Clare. It was also known as the monastery of the 33. The community of Saint Mary of Jerusalem lived the Rule of Saint Clare very strictly.
The Venerable Lorenza asked the Pope to put the new monastery under the guidance of the Capuchins. The Pope asked them, by holy obedience, to take the spiritual care of the new monastery. This happened in 1538. The Capuchins guided the new monastery to a more faithful living of the Franciscan charisma.
She was already distinguished for her virtue when she embraced the Third Order Of Saint Francis and gathered several Ladies to live in community. On February 19, 1535, she receives a Bull from Pope Paul III which gave canonical approval for the foundation to observe the Rule of Saint Clare. The Venerable Mother together with 18 noblewomen from Naples started the new Monastery. It was distinguished by its poverty and austerity of life. These Ladies were under the guidance of Mother Lorenza.
They wanted to live a life of Contemplation. The Venerable Mother Lorenza instructed the sisters in prayer, self-denial, and mortification.