Marija Krucifiksa Kozulić

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Maria Crocifissa Cosulich
Maria Nicolina Cosulich

(1852-09-20)20 September 1852
Died29 September 1922(1922-09-29) (aged 70)
Other namesItalian: Maria Crocifissa Cosulich
Years active1879–1922
Known forestablishing the only order of Catholic nuns indigenous to the Archdiocese of Rijeka in Croatia

Maria Crocifissa Cosulich (Croatian: Marija Krucifiksa Kozulić; 20 September 1852 – 29 September 1922) was a Catholic nun who was part of the community of Sisters of the Sacred Heart. She was the founder of the Catholic order of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the only order indigenous to the Archdiocese of Rijeka in Croatia, and the first prioress of the order. Her beatification began in 2008 and her confirmation process started in 2013.


Maria Nicolina Cosulich[1] was born in Rijeka, Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia, on 20 September 1852[2] to a wealthy family from the nearby island of Lošinj. Her parents were Caterina (née Sopranić or Soprani) from Veli Lošinj and Giovanni Matteo Cosulich from Mali Lošinj. The area was at that time ethnically mixed, with fluid ethnic borders between Istrian Italians and Slavs. Maria Cosulich had eleven siblings and she was the eldest of the five who survived.[3] She began her education in Rijeka and later studied in the multicultural milieu of Gorizia (the seat of an archdiocese and of the Habsburg Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca at that time), learning Italian (her first language), Croatian, French, German, and Hungarian. She was highly educated and became a kindergarten and music teacher.[1] She was initially enthusiastic about harpsichord and later learned piano. She was also skillful in knitting and stitching. She and her family were highly spiritual and dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, setting up an altar to him in their house.[3] Cosulich spent her early years staying at home and helping her mother, teaching her brothers and sisters. Her sister Irene became a physics and mathematics teacher in the school in Rijeka. Her brother Giuseppe Nicolò died in 1885 at age 22, while still pursuing his studies. Her sister Emilia worked as private tutor[3] and one sister became a nun.[4]

After a shipwrecking on a voyage from New York to Odessa in 1874, his father's company went bankrupt, forcing the family to relocate.[4] In 1879, they settled in nearby Trieste.[5] Here she joined the Pious Union of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart[2] and worked as a Catholic layperson[6] among the poor. She was particularly focused on abandoned girls, teaching them faith and devotion, as well as providing shelter and clothing.[4]

Maria Nicolina Cosulich at a young age

She spent a decade in Trieste before returning to Rijeka,[5] where she resumed her charitable works. In 1895 she founded the Institute of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to provide a kindergarten for poor children and education for girls,[7] without regard for their religious affiliation or ethnic background.[4] Four years later, she took her vows and changed her name to Maria Crocifissa (Marija Krucifiksa in Croatian).[1] In 1899, she established the congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.[1] She wrote and prepared the Constitution for the order under the model of the Capuchin Friar Arcangelo da Camerino,[1][4] who had organized the Daughters of the Sacred Heart in Trieste[5] and became the first prioress of the congregation. Her vocation was to work among the poor[1] and bridge the gap between the Slavic and Italian communities living in Rijeka in a period of mounting nationalism.[7] Cosulich died on 29 September 1922 in Rijeka[5]

The order that she founded has spread to include six dioceses in Croatia and one in Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro, Italy,[7] as well as operating two kindergartens and a girls' boarding school.[8] In 2008, the process of her beatification was begun when an arterial street connecting the avenue of John Paul II and Pomerio Streets was dedicated.[5][7] She has been the subject of a documentary film by Bernardin Modrić, had a staircase in the city center of Rijeka dedicated to her, had a plaque affixed to the home of her birth, and had a hospice named in her honor.[1] Her body was exhumed and identified[4] in 2012 to be consecrated[7] and in February 2013, a decree was signed by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the confirmation process to officially begin.[8] The date of starting the beatification process was on 20 October 2013, the anniversary of the date she had taken the oath to join the Pious Union of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1879.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Car, Viviana (19 October 2013). "La prima beata del Quarnero" (in Italian). Rijeka, Croatia: La Voce del Popolo. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Figlie del Sacro Cuore di Gesù di Fiume" (in Italian). Cortona, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy: Diocesi di Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro. 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Serva Di Dio Madre Maria Crocifissa Cosulich" (in Italian).
  4. ^ a b c d e f "In search of sister Krucifiksa's bones". translation into English, with a link at the foot of the entry to the Croatian original. Prof. Dragan Primorac, M.D., Ph.D. 3 January 2012. pp. 32–35. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Svečano otkrivena ploča Prolaza Marije Krucifikse Kozulić" (in Croatian). Rijeka, Croatia: Gradsko vijeće Rijeka. 28 April 2008. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  6. ^ "U Rijeci započeo postupak za proglašenje blaženom Marije Kozulić" (in Croatian). Zagreb, Croatia: Glas Koncila. 20 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e Radivo, Paolo (22 October 2012). "Suor Maria Crocifissa Cosulich commemorata a Fiume". Notizie Flash del Mese (in Italian). Pula, Croatia: Arena di Pola Associazione del Libero Comune di Pola in Esilio. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Vatikan odobrio početak postupka za beatifikaciju Marije Kozulić" (in Croatian). Split, Croatia: Bitno. IKA. 16 February 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2015.