Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Facts

Birth: 1878

Death: 1905


Assunta Maria Liberata Pallotta 1878-1905 Italy-China Died Age 26 Sister Assunta was the first non-martyr missionary sister to be beatified in the history of the Church. Maria Assunta Pallotta was born on August 20, 1878 in the little town of Force, Italy. She was baptized the day after she was born and was confirmed at the age of two. Assunta's father was a common laborer who was chronically out of work. Her mother often had a hard struggle to feed her five children. By the time Assunta was eleven, her father left home to seek his fortune. Assunta, the dutiful older sister, helped her mother to keep house, raise the younger brothers and go out to work to help support the family. In the testimony for Assunta's beatification, a number of people remembered that as a child she was animated only when she was given the opportunity to teach others about religion. They recalled that she was always solemn and that she practiced penances far advanced for one her age. They noted that her rosary was always with her, and they remembered her joy at age 12 when she was allowed to make her First Communion. While other girls were laughing and visiting, Maria perferred to be at the foot of the tabernacle. Although Assunta's family was poor, she was filled with the spirit of Christian charity so pleasing to Our Lord. In her late teens Assunta finally spoke of her desire to be a sister, and the parish priest made arrangements for Assunta to enter the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. She left for Rome with a joyful heart. As a postulant, Sister Assunta worked in the kitchen and there, was a model of humility and exact observance of the Rule. On October 9, 1898, she entered the Novitiate. At her request, Assunta was allowed to keep her baptismal name. The celebrant intoned: "My daughter, you will no longer be called Assunta Maria Pallotta, but Sister Maria Assunta." Assunta was sent to Grottaferrata to make her novitiate. There she was assigned to various farm tasks, such as the care of the animals and the harvesting of the olives. She expressed her appreciation of the life at Grottaferrata to one of the other sisters. "One is very well cared for at Grottaferrata and the life is truly Franciscan; it is a real Paradise. Though they work in the fields, the solitude is a great incentive to recollection and prayer." After her two years of novitiate were completed, Assunta was admitted for profession in December of 1900. She returned to her farm work after profession. Her mission was still the humble mission of good example. Her life was characterized by her practice of fraternal charity in a marked degree. All her sisters remember her self-sacrificing ways, her gentleness and her willing helpfulness. Sister Assunta lived in the presence of God, often saying such things as,"For the love of God," or "All for Jesus," or "What God wills, as He wills, and may His Will be done." Sister Assunta was extremely solicitous for the conversion of sinners, and she was eager to offer herself for the conversion of infidels. She wasalso very devoted to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. every day she recited the "Eternal Rest" 100 times and she gained indulgences for the Poor Souls. Assunta practiced an exemplary obedience, never showing the slightest hesitation in obeying an order. In January of 1904 Assunta wrote to her parents and spelled out for them what was to become, in truth, one of the main parts of her mission. She 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." Little did she suspect that one day the world would call her "blessed" for her heroic purity of intention. Sister Maria Assunta took her final vows in February of 1904. Shortly afterwards, she received the joyful news that she was to be assigned to the missions in China, in the same province where the seven protomartyrs of the Order had died. The winter months were extremely severe, and in February one of the children in the orphanage fell dangerously ill. The dread diagnosis of typhus was made. On March 19, just one year since she had left Italy, Sister Assunta herself was stricken with typhus. On March 25th, she asked for Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction, the last Sacraments. Although her Superior did not think she was very ill, it was felt best to accede to her request. She responded to the prayers, received Holy Viaticum and renewed her vows. On the 7th of April, the sisters, the confessor of the community, and a few Chinese girls gathered around the bed of the dying Assunta. Suddenly, those in the room began to notice a delightful fragrance which resembled a mixture of violets and incense. That night Sister Assunta's body remained in the infirmary. The following morning a crowd of Chinese Christians invaded the mission compound, asking to experience the miracle. News of the fragrant odor had spread. For three days the mysterious perfume remained in the house, then it ceased on the day of her burial, April 9, at the hour at which she had died two evenings before. The Chinese Christians began to ask Assunta for favors, and they becameconvinced that she had answered their requests. Eight years after Assunta's death, the Community was transferred from Tong Eul Koo to Tai Yuan Foo, and the bishop wished that the body of Sister Assunta also be transferred. Disinterment revealed that the body was incorrupt. It remained in the chapel of the cemetery for a month without being affected. In 1932, the decree of the heroic virtues of Sister Maria Assunta was read. She was beatified in 1954.


Bl. Maria Liberata Pallota Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

52.

Image of St. Catherine of Alexandria

St. Catherine of Alexandria

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day is November 25th. She is the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine is believed to have been born in ... continue reading

53.

Image of St. Agatha

St. Agatha

Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr. ... continue reading

54.

Image of St. Abigail

St. Abigail

Irish abbess and disciple of St. Abban. When St. Abban founded a convent in Ballyvourney, County Cork, Ireland, Gobnata was placed in charge. A well there bears her name. continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Pius X

St. Pius X

On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of earth at Riesi, Province of Treviso, in Venice; on August 20, 1914, he saw the light of heaven; and on May 29, 1954, he who had become the ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Elizabeth was born in Hungary in 1207, the daughter of Alexander II, King of Hungary. At the age of four she was sent for education to the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia, to whose infant son she was betrothed. As she grew in age, her piety also increased by ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Francis of Paola

St. Francis of Paola

Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated at the Franciscan friary of San Marco there, and when fifteen became a hermit near Paola. In 1436, he and two companions began a community that is ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine Drexel

Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Reminds Us that 'Love Is Sufficient of Itself'

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 36:23-28
23 I am going to display the holiness of my great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
12 Give me back the joy of your salvation, sustain in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14
1 Jesus began to speak to them in parables once ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 21st, 2014 Image

St. Pius X
August 21: On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter