Blessed Pelagia Ivanovna Serebrenikova was born in the Russian town of Arzamass in October of 1809. Her parents were rather too busy with the trials of raising a family, and she occupied the position of scape-goat in the family. When she was a young girl, she suffered from a long bout of fever. Some people speculate that this fever affected her brain and made her mad. Perhaps. She was also much buffeted for her dreamy ways. When she became of marriagable age, her mother married her, despite her wishes to the contrary, to a nice young man of a good family. He was industrious and ambitious, but Pelagia did not want to be married; she wanted instead to dedicate her life to Christ, her first love. She had visited St. Seraphim who talked long and privately with her, and instructed her to go to the Seraphim-Diveyevo Convent. She was always giving away all her belongings to the poor and angering her husband, who beat her unmercifully, and even chained her with heavy chains. When her firstborn child was born, she carried it in her apron to her mother and gave the child to its grandmother to raise, even giving up the joys of motherhood in an effort to follow her heart's desire. She did the same when her second child was born. Finally, she was allowed to live in the Convent, but her sufferings did not end there. Whether because she was mad from the childhood fever, or from the severe beatings, or because of secret instructions from St. Seraphim, she took up the podvig of a Fool for Christ. She would frequently visit those who disliked her the most and vex them in order to receive their buffets and insults. She would sit on the floor in the doorway so that whenever anyone came in or out, it was impossible not to step on her. Her whole life was one of self-denial and of seeking out humility by encouraging and welcoming insults and blows from those around her. She was granted the gifts of clairvoyance and of directing souls, and many visitors to the convent as well as many nuns became her spiritual children. She never did anything without the blessing of her beloved abbess. She reposed on January 30, 1884. She loved much.
More of her Life here.
Painting is acrylic on canvas in my possession.