St. María Cristina de la Inmaculada Concepción Brando
January 20, Saint

Born to a wealthy family, the daughter of Giovanni Giuseppe and Maria Concetta Marrazzo; her mother died with Adelaide was only a few days old. The girl was educated at home, felt an early call to religious life, and attended mass daily. At age twelve, she took a personal vow of chastity, and soon after tried to enter the monastery of the Sacramentine Nuns in Naples, Italy, but was stopped by her father. She eventually gained his approval to enter the Poor Clare monastery at Fiorentine, Italy but twice fell severely ill, and had to return home. Upon her recovery, she returned to Naples, Italy, and joined the Sacramentine Nuns as she had wanted originally, making her vows in 1876, and taking the name Sister Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception. Her health broke again, and she was forced to return home.
Seeing the constant failure as a sign, while renting a room with the Teresiane Sisters of Torre del Greco in 1878 she founded the group that would become the Congregation of the Sisters, Expiatory Victims of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, which returned papal approval on July 20, 1903. Though they had money trouble, and Maria’s health continued to suffer, the Congregation grew quickly, received help from Venerable Michelangelo of Marigliano and Blessed Ludovico of Casoria, and settled in Casoria where Maria served as superior general of the Congregation. Noted for her strong prayer life, devotion to the birth and Passion of Christ, and the Eucharist.  She slept every night in a chair in a small grotto where she could rest near the exposed Host.

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