Saint of the Day – 15 December – St Mary Crocifissa di Rosa (1813-1855) – Also known as Maria Crocifissa/Mary Crucifixa/Paola di Rosa/Paula Frances Mary di Rosa – Religious/Foundress of the Handmaids of Charity/Sisters of Charity of whom she is the Patron
St. Maria Crocifissa di Rosa was born into a wealthy family in Brescia, Italy, on November 6, 1813. She was one of nine children in her family and educated by Visitandine nuns. St. Mary Di Rosa was 17 years old when her mother died, she soon left school to help manage her father‘s estate. She discerned religious life and rejected many suitors.
In the cholera epidemic of 1836, she became well-known as she directed a home for girls and another home for deaf and mute young women. In 1840, she established the Handmaids of Charity, also called the Servants of Charity, sisters who ministered to the wounded on northern Italian battlefields and in hospitals. Maria led the Order until her death 15 years later. She was beatified in 1940 by Pope Pius XXI and canonized in 1954 by the same pontiff.