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

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (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.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Seraph could not touch the fire's coal with his fingers, but just brought it close to Isaiah's mouth: the Seraph did not hold it, Isaiah did not consume it, but us our Lord has allowed to do both. 

St. Ephraim the Syrian