On Thursday, February 25, the Church will celebrate the life of Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani, a 19th century candidate for sainthood who lived a serene and quiet life of faith after a tumultuous youth. She was born in Naples, Italy, on December 29, 1806, and was given the name Maria Teresa at baptism.
Maria Teresa's father was an alcoholic and her mother abandoned the marriage, leaving the girl to be cared for by her father's mother. After her grandmother’s death, the 10-year-old was sent to a boarding school until she was 17.
In her youth, Maria Teresa declined several marriage proposals, preferring to lead a quiet life of prayer. She joined the Benedictine Community in St. Peter’s Monastery in 1828, and took the name Maria Adeodata, making her solemn profession two years later.
Her fellow nuns and many people outside the cloister benefited from her acts of charity and saintly life. She looked after the chapel and was a porter, which kept her close to the poor who came seeking help. Maria Adeodata wrote various works, most notably“The mystical garden of the soul that loves Jesus and Mary,” which is a collection of her personal reflections written between 1835 and 1843.
Maria Adeodata also suffered from heart problems. On Feb. 25, 1855, at the age of 48 and in poor health, she dragged herself to the chapel for Mass, against her nurse’s advice. After receiving Communion she had to be carried back to bed, where she died soon afterward. She had a simple funeral and was buried in the monastery’s crypt the following day.
She was beatified by John Paul II in 2001.