Pisani, Mary Adeodata, Bl.

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Benedictine nun. b., Naples, Italy Dec. 29, 1806; d. Mdina, Malta Feb. 25, 1855. She was baptized Maria (Marija in Maltese) Teresa on the day of her birth in the parish church of St. Mark at Pizzofalcone. Her father, Benedetto Pisani, was a Maltese baron, and her mother, Vincenza Carrano, a Neapolitan who, when Maria was still very young, separated from her husband because of his dissolute life. At first Marija lived with her paternal grandmother. After her grandmother's death she attended the Istituto di Madama Prota, a famous boarding school in Naples that catered to Neapolitan aristocracy, until she turned seventeen. Her father's involvement in politics resulted in his expulsion from Naples and deportation to Malta. Marija and her mother followed her father and settled in Rabat, in the vicinity of Mdina, the old capital city of Malta. Although her father continued to squander his life, Marija always showed him respect whenever she met him.

Marija chose a quiet and simple life. She attended church daily and helped the poor. Inspired by a sermon she decided to join the Benedictine Community of St. Peter's Convent at Mdina, taking the name Marija Adeodata. Her monastic life was exemplary and edifying. She held various official positions in her community. Her favorite duties were that of a porter so that she could be close to the poor and that of sacristan that allowed her to spend more time in the chapel. For four years (184751) she was novice mistress until she was elected abbess. Although ill health forced her to resign as abbess after two years in office (June 1853), she is credited with initiating changes to reflect more authentically the Benedictine way of life. Over the years she wrote her personal reflections on spiritual life and spiritual direction and composed prayers in both Maltese and Italian.

People revered sister Marija for her saintly life. The canonical process for her beatification, begun in 1892, culminated when Pope John Paul II visited Malta on May 9, 2001.

Feast: Feb. 25.

[e. magro]