She was canonized by Pope Pius XII. First educated in a convent by the Visitation Sisters, she left school after the death of her mother and by age seventeen she was running her father"s household and caring for the girls in her father"s mill and estate. During the cholera epidemic of 1836 she worked in the hospital in Brescia and became well known as she directed a home for girls and began another residence for deaf and mute young ladies. In 1840, at age thirty, she became superior of a community that evolved into her congregation, taking the name, Maria Crocifissa di Rosa.
The chief apostolate of the Handmaids of Charity, was the care of the poor, the sick and the suffering.
The women of the Servants of Charity ministered to the wounded on the battlefields of northern Italy and in hospitals. Her spirituality was grounded in the imitation of Christ’s suffering on the Cross.
This was the basis of her teaching and contemplation. Papal approval was granted in 1850.
Mary died at Brescia on December 15, 1855.
She was beatified and canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
In her love of the crucified Christ, she translated her dedication to him towards the suffering members of his Mystical Body.