Founded an Institute of Sisters to Care for Needy

CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA, Italy, APRIL 18, 2007 ( According to the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes, Jesus was truly "the first and the last" for Mother Maria Magdalena Starace.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins gave this synthesis of the life of the religious who was proclaimed blessed on Sunday.

The founder of the Institute of the Compassionist Sisters was born Sept. 5, 1845. In 1850, the Daughters of Charity established themselves in Castellammare to help the sick and then opened an orphanage and boarding house for children, where she was admitted. There, she decided to consecrate herself to the Lord.

Later, because of health reasons, she had to return to her family various times. Her confessor allowed her daily Communion (at that time permission was necessary) and, at age 15, allowed her consecration. She took the name Sister Maria Magdalena of the Passion.

When several epidemics of cholera hit Castellammare, she founded in 1869 the Institute of the Compassionist Sisters, approved two years later.


Her charism can be summarized in four points, the congregation explains: "To love God in every brother and sister. To share aspirations with every person. To participate, like Mary, in the redeeming work of Christ in the world, with love, prayer and sacrifice. To be with Mary at the foot of the infinite crosses of man, where Christ is still crucified."

In 1893, the congregation of the Compassionists was officially joined to the order of the Servants of Mary.

Sister Maria Magdalena of the Passion died of pneumonia on Dec. 13, 1921.

In the homily at her beatification, Cardinal Saraiva Martins underlined how God was at the center of her life. He said she "directed her institute kneeling at the altar, first speaking to the Lord about the life of each foundation and the individual problems of her daughters."

The "fundamental criteria of the new Servant of God," the cardinal recalled, "was centered around the conviction that true happiness in helping elderly persons, in educating youth, in giving oneself to those in need of help and comforting, was in direct relation to personal sanctification, with deep union with God."

Cardinal Saraiva Martins recalled that this is also discussed by Benedict XVI in "Deus Caritas Est," because, he said, it goes back to the "primacy of charity in Christian life and in the Church, underlining that the privileged witnesses of this are the saints, who made this their existence, even with thousands of different shades, a hymn to God-Love."

"The weapon of prayer, acceptance of the cross and abandonment to the will of God" were fundamental to the life of the newly beatified, the cardinal added.

"Let us learn from her to turn our gaze up to he who is the first and the last, the living," Cardinal Saraiva Martins concluded. "[She] sacrificed her life for the poor, children, the old and in [Christ's] spirit taught her daughters, convinced that only living this way could one be happy living on earth."

Code: ZE07041802

Date: 2007-04-18


Teachings of Christ

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 ESV)


Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head." 

St. Seraphim of Sarov