St. Maria Crocifissa di Rosa was the founder of the Handmaids of Charity in Brescia, Italy, in 1839.[She was both beatified and canonized by Pope Pius XII. She was born as Paolina Francesca di Rosa on November 6, 1813, in the city of Brescia, Italy.First educated in a convent by the Visitation Sisters, she left school after the death of her mother when she was seventeen years old to take care of her father, who ran a saw mill with numerous employees. She helped the women and girls working there. During the cholera epidemic in 1836 she worked in the hospital in Brescia. She founded a school for the hearing impaired and created programs to assist women in poverty. – Her dedication led to her nomination as mother superior. Her spirituality was grounded in the imitation of Christ’s suffering on the Cross. This was the basis of her teaching and contemplation. In her love of the crucified Christ, she translated her dedication to him towards the suffering members of his Mystical Body. In 1840, at age 30, taking the name of Maria Crocifissa di Rosa, she founded a new religious congregation, the Handmaids of Charity, whose chief apostolate was the care of the poor, the sick and the suffering. Papal approval was granted in 1850. Mary died at Brescia in 1855. She was beatified and canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
Few are called to serve God by great actions, but all are bound to strive after perfection in the ordinary actions of their daily life.
Lord, hear the prayers of those who recall the devoted life of the virgin St. Maria Crocifissa di Rosa. Guide us on our way and help us to grow in love and devotion as long as we live. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.