Unable to persuade her parents that she had a religious vocation, Virginia was married at age 15 to the son of another notable Italian family. But he gambled, lived dissolutely and died after only five years. Virginia, despite her unhappiness in the marriage, nursed him at the end. She vowed to live celibately thereafter, bringing up her two daughters and caring for abandoned children, especially girls. She founded several schools and the Sisters of Our Lady of the Refuge on Mount Calvary. She was canonized in her hometown, Genoa, in 2003.