Maria Cristina of Savoy, ven.

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Queen; b. Cagliari, Sardinia, Nov. 14, 1812; d. Naples, Jan. 31, 1836. She was the youngest of five children whose devout parents were Victor Emmanuel I (17591824), King of Sardinia (180221), and Maria Theresa (17731832), of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine. From early years Maria displayed the kind, charitable, and pious traits that characterized all her life. Relinquishing her own wish to enter religion, she bowed to the will of her sovereign, Charles Albert, and married Ferdinand II, King of Naples. While fulfilling the obligations of her state in the Bourbon court, she continued unchanged her religious practices and exercised an exemplary influence on her husband and others about her. Neapolitans referred to her as a saint, even though they were unaware of the full extent of her good deeds. Stories circulated about her ill treatment by her husband, but these were the inventions of liberal political opponents of the ruler. She died in giving birth to her only child, who became Francis II, the last Bourbon king of Naples. The decree introducing her cause was issued in 1859, and the decree approving the heroic nature of her virtues, in 1937.

Bibliography: c. testore, Beati e venerabli di Casa Savoia (Turin 1928). a. bresciani, "La Venerabile Maria Cristina di Savoia," La civiltà cattolica ser. 4, v.4 (1859) 129144, 309325, the first biog. pub.; rev. ed. e. rosa (Rome 1936). b. croce, Uomini e cose della vecchia Italia, ser. 2 (2d ed. Bari 1943) 268308, important essay. h. m. acton, The Last Bourbons of Naples (18251861 ) (London 1961). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 29 (1937) 349352.

[m. l. shay]

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Maria Cristina of Savoy, ven.

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Maria Cristina of Savoy, ven.