Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani was born into a noble family in Naples, Italy in 1806. Her father was an alcoholic and was exiled after being involved in a revolt. Maria's grandmother raised her. When her grandmother died, the 10 year-old was sent to a boarding school until she was 17.
During these years, Maria declined several marriage proposals because she preferred to lead a quiet life of prayer.
When she turned 21, she entered the Benedictine Community in St. Peter's Monastery and took the name Maria Adeodata. She made her solemn profession two years later.
In the cloister, Maria was a seamstress, sacristan, porter, teacher and novice mistress. Her fellow nuns and many people outside the cloister benefited from her charity.
Maria Adeodata wrote various works, the most well-known of these is a collection of her personal reflections between the years 1835 and 1843 titled “The mystical garden of the soul that loves Jesus and Mary”.
She was an abbess from 1851 to 1853 but had to retire from her duties because she 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.
Maria was remembered for her sanctity, love of the poor, self-imposed sacrifices, and ecstasies so complete that she was seen levitating.
She was beatified by Blessed John Paul II in 2001.