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Birth: 1851

Death: 1923

Beatified By: Pope John Paul II


At the age of ten, Savina Petrilli, of Siena, Italy, read a biography of Saint Catherine of Siena that instilled in her a lasting devotion to this saint. Savina thereafter aspired to imitate Catherine’s devotion to the Eucharist, the Passion of Christ, and the Church. Following her First Holy Communion at the age of twelve, Savina became a frequent communicant. As a teenager, she was a very active member of a Marian sodality, the Children of Mary. At the age of eighteen, she had the opportunity to meet (Blessed) Pope Pius IX, who, upon learning that she was a native of Siena, commented that she should walk in Saint Catherine’s footsteps. Savina saw in this remark a sign from heaven that inspired her to found a new religious congregation. She confided her plan to her dying sister Emilia, who in turn promised to assist in its accomplishment by her prayers in heaven. Savina’s congregation received papal approbation in 1877 with the title, the Sisters of the Poor, devoted to the care of the needy. Mother Savina died of cancer on April 18, 1923.


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