Saint of the Day – 29 April – Blessed Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation FSPA (1770-1824) Religious Sister and Founder of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Mystic – born as Caterina Soderini on 16 April 1770 in Porto Santo Stefano, Grosseto, Italy and died on 29 November 1824 in Rome, aged 54. She is also known as Blessed Caterina Soderini. Patronage – the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The Order falls under the Franciscans as the St Francis Sisters of Perpetual Adoration – FSPA.
Caterina Sordini was born on 16 April 1770 at Grosseto, Italy, the fourth of nine children born into a deeply Catholic family. When she was 17 her father arranged for her to marry a maritime merchant. At first she was against it but later complied with her father’s wishes. The young man gave her a casket of jewels and, having adorned herself, turned to admire her reflection in the mirror but saw the image of the Crucified Christ who asked: “Do you want to leave me for another?”.
She took the question seriously and in February 1788 visited the Franciscan Tertiary Monastery in Ischia di Castro. Caterina entered then and there, thus shocking her father who had thought it was merely a visit. She was clothed six months later, taking the name of Sr Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation.
On 19 February 1789, she fell into ecstasy and saw a vision of “Jesus seated on a throne of grace in the Blessed Sacrament, surrounded by virgins adoring him” and heard Him telling her: “I have chosen you to establish the work of perpetual adorers who, day and night, will offer me their humble adoration…” Thus, she was called to become a foundress and to spend her life adoring Jesus in the Eucharist. In that turbulent period for the Church, she set an example to all.
She was elected Abbess on 20 April 1802. The period of her governance was accompanied by extraordinary phenomena and an increasingly fervent spiritual life, and the abbey thrived. With the consent of her spiritual director and the local Bishop she drafted the rules of the new Institute and set out for Rome on 31 May 1807.
On 8 July that year, she and a few Sisters moved into Sts Joachim and Anne convent, near the Trevi Fountain. Under the French occupation it was confiscated and the Napoleonic laws suppressed her Order. She was exiled to Tuscany.
There she formed a new group of Adorers. On 19 March 1814, when they could return to Rome they settled at Sant’Anna al Quirinale. On 13 February 1818, Pope Pius VII approved the Institute dedicated to perpetual, solemn, public exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
In 1824, Mother Mary Magdalene predicted she would die in the autumn, despite the fact, that she was not taken at her word. She died at 11:00 pm on 29 November 1824. She was buried at Sant’Anna al Quirinale and in 1839 her remains were translated to the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena, the new generalate of the Perpetual Adorers in Rome. St Pope John Paul II decreed her heroic virtues in 2001 and in 2007, Benedict XVI recognised a miracle attributed to her intercession. … Vatican.va
She was Beatified on 3 May 2008, Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Rome, Italy by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.
The order now operates across Europe, the Americas, as well as in Africa and has more than ninety monasteries scattered around the world. The Order locates its Monasteries in cities, in order to provide people access to the Blessed Sacrament for veneration. So, the Monastery’s Chapel is usually open to the public every day, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., for Eucharistic Adoration. Visitors kneel adoring Christ in the consecrated host, exposed in a large, golden monstrance, while in another section of the chapel, the nuns take turns in Adoration from behind the cloister grille.
But even while performing daily chores or praying elsewhere in the Monastery the nuns strive to continually focus on the Blessed Sacrament.