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Canossian Sisters


The Canossian Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor are an international missionary congregation of women founded by St. Magdalene of Canossa, canonized in 1988. Our actions arise from our identity born of Christ crucified, the Greatest Love. We are called to journey in simplicity, sharing a common life at the service of our brothers and sisters on every continent. Through ministries of education and human promotion, evangelization and faith formation, and pastoral care among the suffering, we strive to touch each person with the love of God. Our motto is “to make Jesus known and loved,” especially to those most in need.

Magdalene of Canossa, canonized in 1988, was a woman of noble birth who ardently desired to live in service among her “beloved poor.”

In 1808, she gathered several companions to assist her in meeting the needs of the neglected in Verona, Italy. Since then, women and men inspired by her to serve as sisters, priests, brothers, lay missionaries, and volunteers have witnessed to the Greatest Love all over the world.

With the opening of the first Mission house in 1860, the Institute of Magdalene of Canossa has spread to Asia, North America, South America, Africa, Australia and Europe.

St. Magdalene of Canossa - Our Foundress

Magdalene of Canossa started her charitable works at the age of 34, after a long struggle and search for God’s will for her.

She was born in Verona, Italy, on March 1, 1774, to a rich and noble family. Through painful events, like the death of her father, the departure of her mother, sickness, and misunderstandings, the Lord guided her towards unexpected paths which Magdalene tried hard to understand.

At 17, she believed she was called to the life of the cloister and attempted to join the Carmelites twice, but the Spirit of God urged her interiorly to give herself to the service of the neediest persons whom the convent grills prevented her from reaching out to.

She returned home and, forced by the sorrowful family circumstances and tragic historical events of the 18th century, she concealed in her heart her dream of offering herself to God and neighbor. She lived in the Canossa Palace, accepting the administration of the huge family patrimony.

In the midst of her tireless activities and heavy family responsibilities, Magdalene found the time to intensify her prayer, the daily contemplation of the Love of Christ on the Cross and of the Mother of Sorrows.

Inflamed by the same fire of God’s love, she opened herself to the cry of the poor, hungering for bread, instruction and God.

Magdalene looked from her magnificent palace at the misery of the peripheral districts of Verona, where the impact of the French Revolution, the alternating domination of foreign emperors, and the Veronese Pasch, had left evident signs of devastation and human suffering.


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StBakhitaSt. Josephine Bakhita –
Canossian Daughter of Charity “The Universal Sister”

On October 1, 2000 – Pope John Paul II, canonized a Canossian Sister from Africa, Saint Josephine Bahkita. Since then, this holy woman of faith and forgiveness has been interceding for many, especially those who are sick, those who are in any form of slavery, and those who need to find peace, forgiveness and reconciliation in their lives. If you know someone who needs this kind of powerful intercessor, why not ask her?

Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and died in Schio (Italy) in 1947. This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping, slavery and torture, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God’s grace, close to the Daughters of Charity.

Bakhita, which means “fortunate one,” is the name given her by her kidnappers. Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum, she experienced the humiliations and the sufferings of slavery, physical, mental and moral.

Fortunately, Bakhita encountered a good owner, who didn’t use the lash when giving orders and treated her in a loving and cordial way. She later celebrated the sacraments of Christian Initiation and was given the name, Josephine, on January 9, 1890. Bakhita joined the religious institute of the Daughters of Charity of Canossa on December 8, 1896.

On May 17, 1992, Josephine Bakhita was beatified by Pope John Paul II. She was proclaimed Saint on October 1, in the Jubilee year 2000.

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For more information, visit our International Website.

bakhita quotes



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