Sister Maria Rosa was beatified April 29 in Rimini. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes and Benedict XVI's delegate for the occasion, presided over the rite.
Cardinal Saraiva Martins reflected in his homily on the invitation of Sister Maria Rosa to hope and "to not let ourselves be tied down by our limitations."
Like her, we must pray that Jesus uses each one of us "to build upon the wreckage" of human weakness, [to be] that "masterpiece that" God "has had in his mind for all eternity," exhorted the cardinal.
Born Bruna Pellesi on Nov. 10, 1917, near Modena in northern Italy, she was the youngest of nine children. Her parents were farmers with a strong Catholic faith.
The postulator of her cause of beatification, Father Florio Tessari, in an interview with Vatican Radio, said, "When she was a young girl she was vivacious and loved to dress well."
"She was one of the most beautiful girls in town," he added, and she "was filled with a desire to love and be loved."
When she was 17, she dated a young man but "left him because her heart was beating for another. Christ became her only love," Father Tessari explained.
Bruna Pellesi entered the convent of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Christ when she was 23, making her final profession two years later, taking the name of Sister Maria Rosa of Jesus.
At the age of 26 she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was hospitalized by the sickness for 27 years.
Her treatment included extracting liquid from her lungs five times a day. The postulator said she never complained.
Father Tessari recalled that when Sister Maria Rosa was near death, in 1972, she said in a whisper: "I say this now, all that matters is loving the Lord. I am happy because I die in love and I am happy because I love everyone."