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Rossello, Maria Giuseppa, St.


Foundress of the daughters of our lady of mercy; b. Albissola Marina, Italy, May 27, 1811; d. Savana, Italy, Dec. 7, 1880. The daughter of Bartolomeo and Maria (Dedone) Rossello, she was baptized Benedetta. She became a Franciscan tertiary in 1827 and spent the next decade doing charitable works among the Savoyards. Then she, Pauline Barla, and the sisters Angela and Domenica Pescio offered themselves to the bishop of Savoy, Agostino de Mari, and thereby initiated a religious congregation to care for the abandoned girls of his diocese (Aug. 10, 1837). She received her habit (Oct. 22, 1837), and two years later pronounced her vows, taking the name in religion, Maria Giuseppa. Elected superior-general (1840), she directed her congregation for 40 years. During these decades the congregation grew with such rapidity that it was granted juridical status by the Italian government. Under Bp. Alessandro Riccardi, the successor of De Mari, the congregation was committed to the education of girls, especially orphans, and to the care of the sick. Upon the death of the foundress, the Daughters were established in nearly 70 houses throughout Italy and Latin America. She was beatified Nov. 6,1938. At the time of her canonization, June 12, 1949, the congregation numbered some 3,000 members in 263 houses.

Feast: Dec. 7.

Bibliography: a. o. riccardi, Lettere di un Vescovo (Genoa 1971). g. guzzo, Santa M. G. Rossello (Rome 1949). k. burton, Wheat for This Planting (Milwaukee 1960).

[v. a. lapomarda]

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