Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani was born in Italy in 1806, to a noble family. Her father, an alcoholic, was exiled after participated in a revolt, and Maria was raised by her grandmother. When her grandmother died, Maria was sent to a boarding school at the age of 10, where she remained until she was 17.

Even as a young woman, Maria declined several proposals of marriage, preferring to live a simple life of prayer. At 21, she entered the Benedictine Community in St. Peter’s Monastery in Malta, taking the name Maria Adeodata. Two years later, she made her vows.

Maria was a seamstress, sacristan, porter, teacher, and novice mistress. She was known for her charity in and out of the cloister. She also spent these years writing, and her best-known work is a collection of personal reflections, written from 1835-1843, called “The mystical garden of the soul that loves Jesus and Mary.”

Maria served as abbess for two years, but had to retire due to heart problems. Only a few years later, on Feb. 25, 1855, Maria was in extremely ill health, but dragged herself to Mass against her nurse’s advice. Once she received Communion, she was carried back to bed, and died soon after.

St. Maria Adeodata was remembered for her love of the poor and her ecstasies, during which she could be seen levitating. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 2001 at Floriana, Malta.