Born at Gretz in Styria on 22 January, 1772, the Servant of God, daughter of Count Godefroy Suardi, was named Antonia. Her father, after having occupied an important charge in Styria, was created Chamberlain to the Austrian Emperor. She received an accomplished education at the hands of the Visitandine nuns - having the perfect possession of five languages and the added achievement of a piano virtuoso. She married the very honorable Count Joseph Welsenheimb and was widowed in 1811. Thereafter she gave herself to works of piety.
She met in Austria, Eugenie Gauvenet, the future Mother Marie Alphonse of the Will of God, penitent of Ven. Fr. Passerat, and joined her in the projected Redemptoristine Foundation. In order, like Mother Marie Alphonse, to drink of the spirit of the institute at its source, the two were sent by Fr Passerat to the Redemptenstine Convent at St-Agatha-of-the-Goths in Italy to make their novitiate. After having received the religious habit at Rome and having venerated the Sanctuary of Loretto, they returned to Vienna.
They made their perpetual vows and set about the foundation of the Redemptoristines over the Alps. Later Mother Maria-Anna-Josepha had the joy of welcoming the youngest of her 8 children within the walls of her monastery in Vienna. She fell asleep peacefully in the Lord on 25 February, 1841. †
(Translated from "Memorial Alphonsien" and typed with thanks to Mrs Trisha Jones.)
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