St. Maria Teresa Fasce
Roman martyrology: In the city of Cassia, Italy, Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce, abbess of the monastery of the Order of St. Augustine, who was able to combine asceticism and contemplation with charity towards pilgrims and indigents (947)
Beatification date: 12 October 1997 by Pope John Paul I
Born December 27, 1881 at Torriglia, Genoa, Italy as Maria Fasce. She taught catechism to children. She grew to love Augustinian spirituality, and became acquainted with the human and spiritual adventure of Rita of Cascia, whose canonization in 1900 was very special to Maria, leading to her desire to be an Augustinian religious in the monastery of Cascia, Italy. She entered in June 1906 at age 25, made her initial vows on Christmas 1907, taking the name Maria Teresa.
The community was in sad decline when Maria Teresa entered, and she became disillusioned. In 1911, she stayed her family for a period of reflection, but returned to the convent, taking her solemn vows on 22 March 1912. Novice mistress in 1914. After writing letters about the terrible spiritual condition of the community, she was appointed vicar from 1917 to 1920, and abbess from 1920 till her death in 1947.
The little chapel containing Saint Rita's body was almost unknown when Mother Maria entered the monastery. Today the basilica is a place of pilgrimage for thousands who learned of Rita through the pamphlet, Dalle Api alle Rose, which Mother Maria started in 1923. Mother Maria's dream was to bring people to God through Saint Rita – and it has worked.
The monastery took in orphan girls, and many live in the modern "Saint Rita's Hive" next to the church. An Augustinian seminary, a hospital, retreat house, and other services grew up around the chapel. Mother Maria Teresa's love was the cause of it all, her spirit sustaining her frail body through the years and work.
She died 18 January 1947 of natural causes and was buried next to Saint Rita of Cascia.