Blessed Michelina was born in the town of Pesaro, on the east coast of Italy. At twelve she married a wealthy member of the powerful Malatesta family and went on to enjoy a rich and frivolous social life. By twenty, however, she found herself a widow with a young son. He became the center of her life. A Franciscan tertiary named Syriaca, whom she had befriended, urged her to put aside worldly occupations and devote herself to God, but Michelina resisted this counsel. When her son subsequently fell ill and died, however, she put on the habit of a Franciscan tertiary, gave away all her possessions to the poor, and took to begging alms from door to door.
Her sudden embrace of voluntary poverty did not inspire a corresponding charity on the part of her neighbors. Her family, thinking her mad, had her confined. In time, however, they were won over by her evident sincerity, and she was free to dedicate herself to works of mercy, especially care for the sick. In imitation of St. Francis, she had a special dedication to lepers, and there were stories of her effecting cures by the power of her kiss. Toward the end of her life, she went on pilgrimage to Rome, where she received a mystical share in the sufferings of Christ. She died on June 19, 1356. She was beatified in 1737.