Bartolomea Capitanio was born in Lovere into a family of modest means. Her mother decided to send her to the boarding school of the Poor Clares at the age of 11 where she acquired a deep piety. She finished her education with the Poor Clares when she was about 18. Soon she felt called and approached Fr. Angelo Bosio, her spiritual teacher for help. The approval of the Bishop of Brescia, Gabrio Nava allowed Fr. Angelo Bosio and the parish priest, Father Rusticiano Barboglio to buy a house. This came to be known as the “Conventino” (small convent) from where the congregation’s work began.
Saint Vincenza Gerosa
About the same time Catherine Gerosa who had lost her family in rapid succession was left alone to manage the family business. She used her family’s money to provide charitable works in the community. Catherine became involved in her Church parish, organizing a women’s oratory with meetings and retreats, and founding a practical school to teach the poor girls of the community domestic work so as to improve their station in life. In one of these meetings, Catherine encountered Bartolomea Capitanio, and together they embarked on a new mission to start a hospital to care for those who could not afford medical care.