Blessed Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified

June 26, 2015
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2017
June 26, 2018
June 26, 2019
OCD commemoration: 
Optional Memorial

From the Vatican:

Giuseppina Catanea (Sr Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified) was born on 18 February 1894 in Naples, Italy, into a noble family, the Marquises Grimaldi. Called "Pinella" by her family, as a young child she showed great affection for the poor and most needy, giving money to them. She helped to care for two lonely old women.

Pinella's mother and grandmother set a good Christian example for her. She was especially devoted to Our Lord in the Eucharist and to Mary, praying the Rosary often. At an early age, Pinella was convinced that Jesus was calling her to Carmel.

Having completed commercial studies, and overcoming the opposition of her mother and family members, on 10 March 1918 Giuseppina entered the Carmelite Community at St Maria ai Ponti Rossi. As a young religious, she learned to love Christ through suffering, offering herself as a victim for the good of priests. She accepted great physical pain as God's will for her.

Giuseppina was afflicted with tuberculosis of the spine, which completely paralysed her. She owes her miraculous cure to the intercession of St Francis Xavier, whose relic was brought to her cell and who appeared to her in a dream.

Although she would have been glad to live in solitude, when the news of her miraculous recovery became known outside the Community, priests, seminarians and persons of every social class came to Ponti Rossi to receive counsel and consolation from her.

In 1932, the Holy See officially recognized the house at Ponti Rossi as a convent of the Discalced Carmelites with the name, "the Carmel of Sts Teresa and Joseph at Ponti Rossi". Pope Pius XI approved the house as a Carmel of the Second Order, with Papal enclosure, placing it under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Naples. Giuseppina received the Carmelite habit and took the name Sr Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified. On 6 August 1932, she made her Solemn Profession according to the Carmelite Rule.

On the day she took the habit, she said that she wished to offer herself to the Crucified Jesus so that she could be crucified with Him. She suffered silently but joyfully and abandoned herself to the will of God, who favoured her with mystical experiences.

In 1934, Cardinal Alessio Ascalesi, the Archbishop of Naples, appointed Sr Maria Giuseppina the Sub-prioress of the Carmel, while in 1945 she became the Vicar.

That same year, on 29 September, the first General Chapter of the Ponti Rossi Carmel elected Sr Maria Giuseppina the Prioress, an office that she held until her death.

Already in 1943 she had begun to suffer various physical maladies, including the progressive loss of her sight. She considered her illnesses to be "a magnificent gift" that allowed her to be better conformed to the Crucified Christ. With a cheerful spirit, she offered her body as a sacrifice for souls. She died in Naples on 14 March 1948.

In obedience to her spiritual director, Sr Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified wrote her Autobiography (1894-1932) and her Diary (1925-45), as well as many letters and exhortations for her Sisters.

The beatification ceremony took place on 1 June (2008) in the Cathedral of Naples, Italy, at which the Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, presided. The Cardinal Archbishop read a message from Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, for the event.


From the writings of Blessed Mary Josephine of Jesus Crucified
(Autobiography, pp.159, 296, 202; Diary, pp. 2-3, 109, 121, 126)

"I offered myself to Jesus Crucified to be crucified with Him. It has always been my heart's burning desire to fulfil the will of God; I have never wanted anything else.

I have lived and am living the divine will. It is something I need more than the food I eat and the air I breathe. I would not know how not to do His will even for a moment! I have always wanted to live and to die conforming to the will of God. I wanted God's will to always be in my thoughts, in my words, in everything I do and in every step I make. It was only through following God's will that I was able to transform my pains into joy, transforming my life from Mount Calvary to Mount Tabor.

God's will is a kiss of His love, it is an embrace of His goodness which lifts the soul out of its own misery in order to be comforted in His arms. The will of God is an act of tenderness which should make the soul want to abandon itself in love.

Oh will of God, infinite love, take away my will in the flame of your love! I want to unite myself to you, my God who are my all. I want only to do whatever pleases you. I want my life to be a continuous adoration, a continuous hymn of love for you, O God who are One and Three. Even if I were a seraphim of love, would I be worthy of the Lord? If I had consumed myself with sacrifices and penances for God and my life had been a holocaust, what would I have done for you, my God and my all? I desire to love God with the same ardour as His divine Spirit, with fervent unction of his love, to the point of living only for Him and becoming one with Him; one will, one desire and one spirit.

There is only one thing necessary in life: to know God, our supreme Good, in order to be able to love Him with all one's heart. This knowledge of God makes our spirit disappear like a drop of water in the ocean or like a spark in a fire.

Contemplate this infinite God, one in essence but three in Persons. Try to see in the Trinity the unique principle, the wisdom existing in infinite love, and in the Trinity see the activity of tiny creatures that live in God and love Him.

I think that one day my small voice will become like a giant's, because it is a voice that glorifies God thanks to the means He has given me on earth: the pains, suffering, prayer and the sacrifices we encounter in life. Let us submerge ourselves in God, let us found ourselves in Him, let us lose ourselves in Him alone and try to live joyfully for He is calling us: 'Come Bride of Christ.'
Suffering is a sweet and precious kiss from our crucified Lord. I desire only the cross, which is light and love.

Lord, you told me that I would have to suffer more each day, that you would place me on the cross and there you would give me a kiss of eternal union. I pine for this moment and pine for this happy meeting even if it means I have to live a life of agony.

Our holy mother, Teresa of Jesus, wants us to be crucified with Christ, this is the task of our lives.

When I think that Jesus has placed me on the cross with Himself I feel in myself a spiritual motherhood, a tenderness for souls, a great and profound joy that I cannot explain. How many tribulations on earth there are, how many lamentations, how many sighs and tears! I am far from all, but here I share the pain of every heart. I present to God all the sighs, the tears which water this place of exile. I am living with suffering humanity. What consolation I felt today in my poor heart.

These words at Holy Communion gave me comfort: "Daughter, you are mine but you will be mine even more." This is exactly what my soul ardently desires. Oh how great is the love of my Lord! Oh indescribable goodness! Oh loving Jesus I thank you and I love you!

I want to write with my blood a countless number of times: 'I love you, Jesus, save souls!'"

Carmelite Prayer: 
Almighty and eternal God, who willed to conform to Christ crucified the virgin Blessed Mary Josephine, as a victim for sinners, grant that we, through her intercession and example, may always embrace our own cross and humbly fulfill your will. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.