Born in Siena, Italy, on May 29, 1769, Anna was the daughter of a pharmacist named Louis Gianetti. her mother, Maria Santa, was a devout Catholic from a poor family. Due to the failure of Louis’s business when Anna was six, the family moved to Rome’s Monti quarter. From that time on they were quite poor. Anna was raised to pray the Rosary and work hard. Because they were poor, Anna attended school only long enough to learn how to read. She never learned to write.
As Anna grew older, she became more and more attractive. By age seventeen she began spending extra time adorning herself, reading romantic books, and attending dances. While she loved the attention she received and all the parties, Anna didn’t forget her faith, even attending weekday Masses at times. Soon she began to see the dangers in her beauty, combined with her continued partying, and decided it was time to marry.
Anna’s mother dreamed her daughter would marry a prince and bring the family to his castle, but instead the one God sent was a servant of the Chigi Palace–Domenico Taigi. He was quite religious, a man who tried to be honest and avoid sin. A prince, however, he was not. Rough and lacking in good manners, Domenico was stubborn and blustery. They were married on January 7, 1790.
The couple moved into two rooms on the ground floor of the palace where Domenico worked. Anna again fell into vanity, dressing in fancy clothes, rings, and necklaces–now, supposedly, to please her husband.
Before long Anna realized that she had become too worldly; she wanted to please others more than God. Perhaps she was moved to convert by the words of Scripture: “Let not your be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine robes, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Pet. 3:3, 4). Her soul was at stake. She decided she must change.
Excerpted from Fr. T. G. Morrow’s book Who’s Who in Heaven. For ordering information, visit our website.