+ Maria was born in Torriglia, Genoa, Italy. As a young woman she taught catechism to children and began to love the spirituality of Saint Augustine and to have a devotion to Saint Rita of Cascia.
+ This love for Saint Rita and the Augustinian way of life inspired Maria to enter the monastery where Saint Rita lived in Cascia, Italy, in 1906. When she made religious vows one year later, she took the name “Maria Teresa Eletta.”
+ The community was in decline when Maria Teresa entered, and she struggled to persevere in her vocation. Although she left the community for a time in 1911 to continuer her discernment, she decided to return and professed solemn vows in 1912.
+ Maria Teresa was named novice mistress in 1914 and was finally elected abbess in 1920. She held this office until her death in 1947.
+ During her time as abbess, Maria Teresa promoted devotion to Saint Rita, who desired to bring people to God through the saint. At this time, the Augustinian nuns in Cascia began to bring in orphans, and an seminary for future Augustinian priests, a retreat house, and other charitable works grew up around the chapel-shrine of Saint Rita, inspired by the faith and love of Mother Maria Teresa.
+ Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce died on January 18, 1947, and was beatified in 1997; her memory is celebrated among the Augustinians on October 12.
For prayer and reflection
“Live then, all of you, in harmony and concord; honor God mutually in each other; you have become His temples.”—from The Rule of Saint Augustine, no. 8
On this day, we also remember three women who were martyred for their Christian Faith in 293. Saints Archelais, Thecla, and Susanna are collectively honored as the Martyrs of Salerno.
O God, who called your handmaid blessed Maria Teresa to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Nun)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.