Wednesday, May 3, 2017


ST. MARIA CRISTINA of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION BRANDO was born Adelaide Brando in Naples in 1856 to Giovanni Giuseppe Brando and Maria Concetta Marrazzo. Her mother died after her birth and she was home schooled. As a young girl, she felt a call to the  religious life. She attended Mass daily and, at the age of twelve, she took a personal vow of chastity, soon trying to enter a Neapolitan monastery. Her father refused her to enter and stopped her from doing so, but he relented and allowed her to enter the Poor Clare monastery at Fiorentine.

Adelaide fell ill twice and returned home to Naples. When she had fully recovered from her ailments, she joined the Sacramentine nuns, as had been her wish. She took the name Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, making her vows in 1876.

 She suffered from a chronic bronchitis so acute that it forced her each night to sleep upright in a chair, a disability that continued for the rest of her life. Sister Maria Cristina left that order due to her on-going illness

In her early twenties, she began to discern the need to found a new congregation for herself and several other like-minded young women, including her own sister Concetta, who had also been compelled to return home from the Poor Clares' convent. The "Sisters-Expiatory Victims of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament" founded n 1878, devoted themselves to perpetual Eucharistic adoration  and the schooling and spiritual formation of young girls.

Her health declined at the beginning of the new century though ushering in a prosperous time for her religious institute, which grew at a rapid pace. It also received assistance from the future Venerable Michelangelo Longo of Marigliano and future saint Ludovico of Casoria, O.F.M. She served as the Superior General of her order, being noted for deep piousness and her devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ and the Eucharist. She would sleep close to the exposed Host as a means of drawing strength and remaining close to the Lord.

She died in 1906. She would be remembered for the burning love of God and neighbor that characterized her life. She was canonized May 17, 2015 by Pope Francis.

Her spirituality of expiation was so strong, that it became the charism of the Institute. In fact, among the remaining fragments of her autobiography, written in obedience to her spiritual director, we read: “the principal purpose of this work is reparation for the offenses that are received by the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, especially so many acts of irreverence and carelessness, sacrilegious communions, and sacraments poorly celebrated, Holy Masses assisted at inattentively and, that which bitterly pierces that Sacred Heart, that so many of his ministers and so many souls that are consecrated to him, align themselves with these ignorant people and thus pierce his heart even more.”

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