Bl. Maria Francesca Rubatto
Anna Maria lost her father at age four. In her teens she received a marriage offer from a local notary, but turned it down and made a vow of virginity. Her mother died when Maria as 19, and the girl moved to Turin, Italy where he became the friend of Marianna Scoffone, an Italian noblewoman who supported her as she visited parishes in the city, taught catechism to children, visited the sick in hospital, helped the poor and neglected. Marianna Scoffone died in 1882.
One morning after Mass at the Capuchin church in Loano, Italy, a stone fell from a nearby convent under construction, striking a young worker on the head. Anna Maria cleaned the wound and gave the man some money to live on while he recovered. The building was to house a community of women religious, and the sisters were looking for a spiritual guide. When they had heard of the incident in the church, they took it as a sign that Anna Maria was the person they were looking for. A Capuchin priest, Father Angelico Martini convinced her to enter the community, and after a year she joined them in the house. She took the name Sister Maria Francesca of Jesus, and on orders of Bishop Filippo Allegro, she became the superior and formation director of the group. Thus began the Institute of the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto.
In 1892 Sister Maria and some sisters went as missionaries to Montevideo, Uruguay and then spread their apostolate further into Uruguay and then Argentina. Mother Maria crossed to the Americas seven times, and was asked to begin a mission in the rain forest with Capuchin friars from Milan, Italy; she and six sisters stayed at the mission for three months. Eighteen months later, on 13 March 1901 the sisters, the Capuchin missionaries, and many of the faithful were martyred there.