+ Paula Frances was born to a middle-class family in Brescia, Italy. Educated by the nuns of the Visitation Order, she was a happy and pious child.
+ Her mother died when Paula Frances was only seventeen, and she left school to help manage her father’s estate. Because she felt called to religious life, she turned down several offers of marriage.
+ During this time, she began to work with young girls who worked in her father’s mills, even as she helped the sick in local hospitals.
+ In time, she established a home for the spiritual needs of young girls, as well as a school for deaf children.
+ In 1840, she became superior of a new community of religious sisters—the Handmaids of Charity—and she was known in religious life as “Sister Maria Crocifissa.”
+ Known for her devotion to the suffering of Christ and dedicated toward serving the suffering members of his Body, Saint Maria Crocifissa died on December 15, 1855, and was canonized in 1954.
For prayer and reflection
“The Lord chose her for his spouse with a loyal, compassionate love that will last forever.”—from the Common for Religious in the Liturgy of the Hours
Grant, O Lord our God, that the Virgin blessed Maria Crocifissa, your faithful spouse, may stir up in our hearts the flame of divine love, which she inspired in other virgins to the enduring glory of your Church. 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 Virgins—For a Virgin-Foundress)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.