Saint of the day
Costanza Starace was born at Castellammare di Stabia, Naples, Italy, on September 5, 1845, to Francesco Starace and Maria Rosa Cascone. As a young girl she attended a boarding school run by the Daughters of Charity. This atmosphere prompted her to consecrate herself to the Lord. Poor health, however, required her to return to her family and continue her studies at home. Along with her studies she also began to cultivate a strong prayer life. When her health stabilized she announced to her parents her desire to enter a cloistered religious community; they, however, remained opposed to it.
In June 1867 she made her profession in the Third Order of the Servants of Mary, taking the name Sister Maria Maddalena of the Passion. Bishop Francesco Petagna then asked her to direct the Daughters of Mary and teach the faith to the local children. This experience coupled with the cholera epidemic that afflicted the area led the young sister to found the Compassionist Sisters Servants of Mary in 1869; their charism was “to share the compassionate Jesus and the Sorrowful Mother, to assist one’s neighbor in all his needs, spiritual or corporal.” Her life then focused on activism, generosity, and tireless work; after the First World War, although old and weakened by disease, she devoted herself to assist orphans, the sick, and war veterans. She died on December 13, 1921. She was declared venerable in 2003 and beatified in 2007.