Saint of the day
St. Mary di Rosa
This saint was born Paula di Rosa in 1813. She was from a large family in Brescia, Italy. Her father was the successful owner of a textile mill. Her mother died while she was still young, and she received her education from nearby sisters.
When she was seventeen, Paula left school to help her father at home. Her father thought she should get married, but Paula wanted to devote her life to helping others instead. She began by organizing a group of women who worked in her father’s mill. They prayed together and did charitable works. During a cholera epidemic, Paula took care of the sick in the hospital. When a shelter was opened up for poor and homeless girls, Paula was asked to operate it. She also provided work opportunities for the young women and started a school for the hearing-impaired.
But all these activities were leading up to her life’s work. When she was twenty-seven, Paula started a community of sisters called the Handmaids of Charity. Her sisters were dedicated to the bodily and spiritual care of the poor and sick. In wartime, Paula and her sisters took care of the wounded in military hospitals and on the battlefield.
The Handmaids of Charity received final approval in 1850. This was when Paula took the name Sister Mary of the Crucified. She died in 1855, worn out from her service to the sick. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
St. Mary di Rosa can be a model of compassion for us. She can show us how to look at those around us with the eyes of Jesus, seeing those who are hurt or lonely and reaching out to them in friendship.