The History of Blessed Camilla Battista Aid Society in The United States:
Her Philadelphia descendants first learned of her in 1948 when Edino Varani was a student at Catholic University. He had mentioned to his parents Edward and Gemma Varani of a possible connection between Camilla Battista and their family. A short time later, Fr. Leonardo Tasselli , OFM from Italy was visiting St. Nicholas of Tolentine parish in South Philadelphia. Edward and Gemma were in the church the day that Fr. Tasselli was visiting. When Fr. Tasselli heard Edward and Gemma’s last name, he became excited and told them “in Camerino we have a great saint, her name is Bl essed Camilla Battista Varani”. The information their son Edino had learned was confirmed by Fr. Tasselli.
Through Fr. Tasselli the Varanis learned that the monastery, built in 1483 by Duke Julius Caesar Varani was damaged during World War II though still in use. Fr. Tasselli urged the Varanis, direct descendants of the Blessed, to do all in their power to collect funds in America in an all out effort to save the monastery. The Varani’s contacted the Abyss of the monastery, Mother Assunta Ricci, OSC. Mother Ricci sent Edward Varani blue prints of all the work that had to be done. In return for this commitment to help with the restoration of the monastery, Edward Varani was given all the rights to the name and the title, which originated in 1259, when the Varani family was given a papal fief. Mother Ricci also sent Edward a first class relic from the Blessed.
In 1951, with the blessing of Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, then the Archbishop of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the Aid Society of Blessed Camilla Battista Varani was founded. Its stated purpose was to spread the devotion of the Blessed Varani, and to promote and hasten the cause of her canonization.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Society ran many fundraisers to rebuild the monastery and also to spread the name of the Blessed through masses celebrated in her honor. Edward and Gemma would also bring the first class relic to those in need of a miracle. In the 1950s two miracles were attributed to Blessed Camilla Battista. A young child at Meth odist Hospital in South Philadelphia and a man in nearby New Jersey.
With the Aid Society’s efforts not only was the monastery restored, but a new chapel honoring Blessed Camilla Battista was built in Castelnuova, Province of Teramo, Italy.
As the late 1960s approached many of the Society members had either gotten older and where not very active, or had passed away. The cause of Blessed Camilla Battista stalled.
In April of 1983, the Varani family was contacted again by the monastery in Italy requesting signatures petitioning for the canonization of Blessed Camilla. Dr. Edino Varani, a school teacher for over 40 years and the son of Edward and Gemma, restarted the Society and on November 6, 1983 Auxiliary Bishop Louis A. DiSimone celebrated a Mass at Holy Angels Parish in the East Oak Lane section of Philadelphia to mark the reopening of the cause for canonization.
In 1985 things stalled again upon the passing of Edino’s wife Maria. Dr. Edino Varani passed away in December of 2005 and now his son Ed who owns Varani Formal Wear in Chester County PA. and his wife, Giuliana , have taken up the cause of Blessed Camilla.
Aug 23rd by admin