Magdalene Canossa was born into the family of the Marquises of Canossa in Verona on 1 March 1774. Sensitive to the needs of the poor of her city and guided by a profound religious sense, she discovered, with great difficulty, after many experiences and trials, her charism in the Church: she would choose to live the Gospel radically for God alone not according to the monastic form, but through dedication and service of the poor. On 8 May 1808 she left definitively the palace of the Canossa family and started her work with a few companions, gathering together and educating young girls from the St Zeno district. Later the Institute of the Daughters of Charity extended to other Italian cities: Venice, Milan, Bergamo and Trent, while Magdalene widened her contacts with religious and civil authorities so as to obtain support for her own and other charitable initiatives. With the help of a Venetian priest and two lay men of Bergamo, she started the Congregation of the Sons of Charity on 23 May 1831. In her extensive apostolic activities she involved numerous lay people, making them responsible together with her for promoting charity. She died in Verona on 10 April 1835. She was proclaimed. Blessed by Pope Pius XII on 8 December 1941 and canonized by Pope John Paul II on 2 October 1988.
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