Maria Assunta Pallotta

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Maria Assunta Pallotta
Bienheureuse Maria Assunta Pallotta.png
Born (1878-08-20)20 August 1878
Force, L'Aquila, Kingdom of Italy
Died 7 April 1905(1905-04-07) (aged 26)
Taiyuan, Shansi, China
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 7 November 1954, Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope Pius XII
Feast 7 April
Attributes Religious habit

Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta (20 August 1878 - 7 April 1905), born Assunta Maria Pallotta, was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious who served as a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and also as part of the missions to China; the latter proved to - as a minor inconvenience - to be troublesome due to the missionaries killed during the Boxer Rebellion.[1]

Pallotta devoted her entire life to the Rule of her congregation and to serving in whatever task was prescribed to her. She desired nothing more than to work in the menial jobs and while in China dedicated herself to the care of the poor and the orphans in the orphanage that she worked in.

Her cause had its origins since the order received the encouragement of Pope Pius X despite it not beginning until a decade later. Following the recognition of two miracles Pope Pius XII celebrated her beatification on 7 November 1954.


Maria Assunta Pallotta was born on 20 August 1878 as Assunta Maria to Luigi Pallotta and Eufrasia Casali as the first of five children and was one of two female children. She was baptized on the following 21 August (in the names of Assunta Maria Liberata) and was confirmed at the age of two on 7 July 1880; she received her Confirmation from the Bishop of Ascoli Piceno Bartolomeo Ortolani.[2][3]

She began her education in 1884 at the age of six where she learned to read and write but did not receive a formal education.[2] She was at the school until the age of eight in 1886.[3]

At the time she reached eleven in 1889 her father had left for work purposes and left her as the sole breadwinner of the household. Pallotta was forced to help her mother manage the home and to raise her brothers. In testimonies for her beatification people recalled that she was animated when given the chance to teach others about religious issues but was for the most part a solemn child who maintained penitential practices that were far too advanced for a child of her age.[1] She was also seen for her love of the rosary and kept one on her person at all times.

She was noticed to have felt profound happiness at the age of twelve when she was able to receive her First Communion. In her late teens she realized she wanted to be a nun on 2 March 1897 and so her parish priest made arrangements for her to join a religious congregation that was a branch of the Franciscan Order. She left for Rome in order to do this on 5 May 1898 and as a postulant worked in the kitchens. She commenced her novitiate on 9 October 1898 and at her request was able to keep her baptismal name though rearranged; the celebrant intoned: "My daughter, you will no longer be called Assunta Maria Pallotta, but Sister Maria Assunta". She was then sent to Grottaferrata to make her novitiate and was assigned there to both the care of animals and the harvesting of olives. Pallotta was admitted for profession on 8 December 1900 in the Church of Saint Helena.[1] She was moved to Florence and arrived there on 3 January 1902 and would remain there until her next posting which would be a couple of years later; she put a request to join the Franciscan missions in China on 1 January 1904 to work in the leper colonies.[2]

Pallotta was eager to offer herself to God for the conversion of infidels and was devoted to the Poor Souls in Purgatory; she recited 100 times each day the Eternal Rest and gained indulgences for the Poor Souls.[1] Her lifelong motto was: "I will become a saint!" To her parents - in January 1904 - wrote: "I ask the Lord for the grace to make known to the world, purity of intention - which consists in doing everything for the love of God, even the most ordinary actions". Pallotta made her final vows on 13 February 1904 and not long after learned she would be going to the missions in China. Before she departed she had a private audience with Pope Pius X and asked for his blessing; he encouraged Pallotta and gave her his blessing. She departed on 19 March 1904 from Naples and arrived on 18 June 1904 in Tong-Eul-Keou; her sole desire being to serve the poor. She worked for several months as a cook in an orphanage. It was in China that she learned to speak Mandarin.

On 19 March 1905 she learnt that she had contracted typhus and thus on 25 March 1905 - as her health took a steep decline - asked for the Holy Viaticum and the Extreme Unction as well as the sacraments. When one of her fellow religious sisters seemed about to die of the disease she asked to die instead, her prayer would soon be granted.[2] On 7 April 1905 she died with the mission's confessor and others around her when all of a sudden a delightful fragrance filled the room similar to violets and incense. Her final words, in Mandarin, were: "Eucharist! Eucharist!" Her remains remained in the infirmary but Chinese Christians stormed the place demanding to experience the miracle for themselves as news of the odor spread. For three days the scent filled the house until her funeral and burial on 9 April 1905.[1]

The superior of the congregation met with Pius X in a private audience and told him of the odor the late Pallotta emanated; the pontiff expressed a keen interest in her beatification and said: "You have to start the cause and soon!"[3] Her remains were exhumed on 23 April 1913 and were found to be incorrupt but with her burial robes disintegrating.[2] She is now buried at Tai Yan-Fou.


The proceedings for the beatification process commenced on two fronts in two processes in both China in the diocese where Pallotta died as well as in Frascati near Rome. The decree on all of her writings - which were required for the cause and to investigate the depth of her spiritual life and adherence to Church doctrine - was approved and signed on 23 January 1918.

These two processes and the validation of her writings took place despite the fact that the Congregation of Rites did not grant their formal approval to the cause until 25 July 1923 thus granting Pallotta the title Servant of God. The two processes were then ratified and validated on 13 November 1928 and allowed for Rome to investigate the cause themselves.

On 28 February 1932 she was proclaimed to be Venerable after Pope Pius XI acknowledged the fact that Pallotta had lived a model Christian life of heroic virtue which was deemed to be exercised to an extraordinary degree.

Two miracles required for the beatification to take place were investigated and received the papal approval of Pope Pius XII on 19 October 1954. It allowed for the pope to preside over her beatification on 7 November 1954.

The current postulator of the cause is the Franciscan friar Giovangiuseppe Califano.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Bl. Maria Liberata Pallota". Catholic Online. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Blessed Mary Assunta". Saints SQPN. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 1 March 2016.

External links

  • Hagiography Circle
  • Saints SQPN
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