Sister Consolata Betrone was born in Saluzzo, Italy on April 6, 1903, and was named Pierina Lorenzina Giovanna Betrone. She was the daughter of Pietro Betrone and Giuseppina Nirino, who were the owners of a bakery in Saluzzo, who later became managers of a restaurant in Airasco (Turin). Pierina was the second of six daughters born of her father’s second marriage.
Nothing in the early life and background could foretell that this young girl would become one of Jesus’ beloved victim souls. She seemed to live a normal childhood up until the age of 13 when one remarkable day our Lord cast His loving gaze upon her. It so happened that while she was hurrying to do her errands in the village when, unexpectedly, an intense prayer suddenly came forth from her heart: “My God, I love you!” and a unusual spiritual fervor overcame her. It was the beginning of her extraordinary experiences with the Lord.
On December 8 1916, which was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pierina dedicated herself to the Virgin. After receiving Holy Communion, she distinctly heard within her the words “Do you want to be Mine?”
Deeply moved by this extraordinary grace, she wept with tears of emotion, and without understanding the extent of the question, she replied “Yes” to Jesus, entrusting herself to Him.
As the weeks and months progressed, Pierina began to feel God calling her to the religious life. During the same time, and continuing for several years, she began a period of spiritual doubts, dryness and temptations, which were surely sent by the Lord to purify her soul. Our Lord first led her out into the spiritual desert in order to prepare her for her mission as victim soul.
It was not until she was age 21 before she was finally able to realise the religious vocation that God was calling her to.
“Nothing attracts me about the Capuchins”, she said, after three failed attempts to take the veil in “open” religious orders [ie- not cloistered], It was her confessor, Don Accomasso, who, enlightened by God as all sincere confessors are, advised her to enter the Convent of the Poor Clares (Order of Franciscan Capuchins) in Turin, Italy. This was an on April 17, 1929. After the normal period of preparation and discernment she gratefully received the Veil on February 28, 1930, taking the name of Sister Maria Consolata,
The new name, “Consolata”, chosen by young Pierina is indicative of the spiritual path and life that Jesus was calling her to, for the word “Consolata” means consoler, and it was she who soon became the consoler of the Heart of Jesus. On this very day of the Ceremony of taking the Veil, she received an inner locution from Jesus that indicated to her what His will was for her. Jesus said-
“I do not call you for more than this: an act of continual love.” And for more than 16 years of enclosed Capuchin life this “act of continual love” would be the foundation on which she concentrated all her spiritual efforts.
On April 8 1934, she took her perpetual vows, working in the convent as a humble cook, doorkeeper and cobbler. She was transferred on July 22 1939 to the new foundation of Moriondo, Moncalieri Turin, where she was also a nurse and secretary. Her exterior life was one lived out in daily sacrifices, penances and self denial, hidden to the world, in fulfilment of the tasks assigned her by her superiors. Although her exterior life was similar to her fellow religious sisters, in her interior life she was receiving exceptional and extraordinary graces from God, which unfolded unnoticed in the intimacy of her spirit. She became the confidante of Jesus and His Sacred Heart.
On November 9, 1934 Sister Consolata writes:
“Jesus reveals to me the intimate sufferings of His Heart caused by the faithlessness of souls consecrated to Him”. After this, she began to have a burning desire to make reparation for the sins of the world, and to lead sinners to Jesus. And thus began the intense spiritual relationship, and intimacy between Jesus and Consolata: together in love, together in pain, together to deliver a countless number of souls to the Father, who seeks them in His infinite love, mercy and compassion. After all it was the Lord Himself who told her:
“Do not think of me as a harsh God, because I am foremost the God of love!”.
Jesus, Mary, I love You! Save souls!
It was then that our Lord also inspired Sister Consolata with this important universal prayer, “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!”
Remembering what Jesus had told her on the day that she took the Veil-
“I do not call you for more than this: act of continual love”, Sister Consolata began to thus repeat this one prayer, over and over again, during all her waking hours, in every form of work as she went about her daily duties. For it was Christ himself, who instructed her in the practice of what He called the “unceasing act of love” expressed in the words- “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!”
Concerning this prayer, our Lord said,
“Tell me, what more beautiful prayer do you want to offer me? —‘Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!’— Love and souls! What more beautiful prayer could you desire?’”
Though Sister Consolata was blessed with these extraordinary interior enlightenment’s by God, she remained very humble and still felt small, and she saw herself as the “even smaller one” which Saint Therese of Lisieux had referred to in her diary. This feeling of littleness that Consolata felt within her soul was confirmed by our Lord in the following words:
“I have found that still weaker soul who has abandoned herself with complete faith to My infinite mercy: it is you, Consolata, and through you I will perform marvels which will far exceed your fondest desires.”
And later Jesus tells her: -‘You are to love. You are too small to climb to the summit: I will carry you on My shoulders’