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Ignatian Rome: Palazzo Madama

Senate of the Republic of Italy

This was the residence of Madama Margarita of Austria, illegitimate daughter of Emperor Charles V. Widow of a Medici, she married Ottavio Farnese, grandson of Alessandro Farnese who became Pope Paul III in 1534. With avuncular attention the Pope appointed Father Jean Codure to serve as her confessor, and after the death of Codure (1541), he named Ignatius.
Ignatius spent almost the entire day of August 27, 1545 in the palace. Madama Margarita, about to give birth, went to confession in the morning. Ignatius returned in the afternoon and remained praying in the chapel until the time of delivery. Twins were born, one of whom was baptized by the nurse before he died. The surviving twin, also in danger of death, was promptly baptized by Ignatius; the baby grew up to become General Alessandro Farnese.
Madama Margarita greatly helped the apostolic works of Ignatius in Rome. At times she would send him from 200 to 300 ducats for the poor. Although she intended this to relieve the poverty of the Jesuit house, Ignatius never wanted to retain any part of the gift, but rather used to distribute it entirely among the poor of the city.


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