Widow and Founder of the Servants of the Immaculata (1805-1893)
+ Anna Maria was born in Fivizzano, Massa, Italy, and was remembered to have been a pious child. At the age of seven, she ran away to become a missionary, but her family brought her back home.
+ She discovered her calling to religious life at a young age and wanted to become a Franciscan Sister. Her mother objected, however, and Anna Maria agreed to her mother’s desire that the girl marry (in part, because Anna Maria recognized that her widowed mother needed her daughter’s support). In 1826, she married Antonio Demonico Botti and the couple would have six children, five of whom died as children. Her surviving son, Leopoldo, became a Benedictine monk.
+ Antonio died in 1844 and Anna Maria began to visit prisons and to educate girls living on the streets of Parma. She formed a pious union—the Institute of the Good Shepherd—to expand her care for women in need.
+ In 1857, Anna Maria and eight companions established a new religious community that was known as the Handmaids of the Immaculata. The community received formal approval in 1876.
+ Blessed Anna Maria served as superior of the congregation for much of the remainder of her life. She died on February 7, 1893, and was beatified in 2010.
For prayer and reflection
“Behold a wise woman who has built her house. She feared the Lord and walked in the right path.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass for the Common of Holy Women (cf. Proverbs 14:1-2)
O God, the exaltation of the lowly, who willed that blessed Anna Maria should excel in the beauty of her charity and patience, grant, through her merits and intercession, that, carrying our cross each day, we may always persevere in love for you. 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 Holy Woman)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.