Maria Pia Mastena
|Blessed Maria Pia Mastena|
San Fior - Monumento alla beata Mastena
|Born||7 December 1881
|Died||28 June 1951
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Beatified||13 november 2005, Rome by Pope Benedict XVI|
Blessed Maria Pia Mastena (1881-1951) was a Roman Catholic religious Sister who was born near Bovolone in Province of Verona, Italy. She is best known for her association with the Holy Face of Jesus and for founding the "Religious of the Holy Face".
She was born Maria Teresa Mastena, the eldest daughter of Julius Mastena and Maria Antonia Casarotti, a small businessman and a teacher. She began her schooling at home, taught by her mother, and attended a kindergarten administered by the Sisters of Mercy. When 9 years old, she reported her first mystic experience, which centered on devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.
She requested to enter religious life at the age of 14, but was only accepted as a postulant on September 3, 1901 at the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Verona. On October 24, 1903 she professed her vows and took the name of Sister Passitea Maria of the Child Jesus. In 1905 she completed her studies at the Institute of "Carlo Montanari" in Verona and obtained a diploma as a primary school teacher. In the same year she began teaching, In 1908 she began teaching at the new center of the Sisters of Mercy, in Miane, hills of Treviso, eventually becoming its director. During World War I, she continued to be active in Miane, very close to the scene of the battle of the Piave.
After the war, family events such as the death of her mother lead her to seek seclusion as a nun, but was not permitted by her superiors. Eventually on April 15, 1927 she entered the convent of St. James Vigil (at Vittorio Veneto) as a Cistercian nun, acquiring the final name of Maria Pia.
In November of the same year, the bishop of Vittorio Veneto Beccegato Eugenio asked her to leave the convent and resume teaching. Hence, between 1927 and 1930 she returned to teaching, first in Miane, then Follina Carpesica and finally in San Fior, where she opened a nursery school and a soup kitchen. In this period, she began to form the idea of a congregation dedicated to the Face of Christ, which was deeply rooted in her devotion.
At San Fior she organized a small order called Pious rescue, aimed at assisting needy children and teaching them a trade. A number of aspiring sisters then began to gather around Maria Pia and in October 1932 the bishop approved of the order. Between 1935 and 1936 the new order of the Holy Face was dissolved twice, due to the opposition by some local clergy to accept her, but after a trip to Rome, on the 8 December 1936, she obtained recognition of her congregation.
Towards the middle of the 1940s, the order began establishing small offices in other Italian cities. This was during World War II and Maria Pia and her order participated in relief activities for soldiers and victims of the conflict and fed them free of charge and without distinction between Italians, Germans, or Jews. The Congregation of Pontifical Right approved her order on 10 December 1947. The purpose of the Congregation is an apostolate to aid in the parish, the school, the sick in nursing homes, nursing and home care, and helping aspiring priests.
In 1949, Maria Pia decided to also establish clinic in Rome, to be run by the Sisters of the Holy Face. Between 1950 and 1951 she began to have health problems of a serious nature, including a heart attack and had to suspend her activities and trips to Rome. She died rather suddenly on June 28, 1951. Her funeral was held both in Rome and in San Fior, where he had always lived for many years and where she is buried.
- Won over by the Face of Christ, she assumed the Son of God's sentiments of sweet concern for humanity disfigured by sin, put into practice his acts of compassion and subsequently planned an Institute whose aim was to "propagate, repair and restore Jesus' gentle image in souls."
She is buried in the church in San Fior, where a chapel for her is constructed.
- Beata Maria Pia Mastena by Nicola Gori 2005 San Paolo Edizioni (Jan 1 2005) (in Italian) ISBN 8821553884