The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Maria Christina

Blessed Maria Cristina di SavoiaArticle>

The Venerable Maria Christina, queen of both Sicilies, was a daughter of the Victor Emanuel mentioned above. Her deeply religious spirit she owed to the example and excellent training of her mother, Maria Teresa of the house of Austria-Este. The latter had taught her children to hold as truly great only what was great in the eyes of God. Maria Christina, youngest of four daughters, was born on 14 November 1812, and lived a happy and innocent youth. Her heart brimmed with a sane enthusiasm for lofty ideals. Prayer and the dispensation of charities were her delights and the pleasures of the world exercised little influence upon her.

After her mother’s death Maria Christina was obliged to live at the court of Charles Albert of Savoy-Carignan, who in the meantime had succeeded to the crown of Piedmont. Here she had much to suffer, since her piety did not please the company of the new master and he himself was jealous of the daughter of Victor Emanuel I. The princess seriously considered consecrating herself to God in a convent, when at this juncture King Ferdinand II of Naples asked for her hand. Her confessor decided that she should accept the proposal, and in deference to the common good she relinquished the state of virginity.

The new queen was received at Naples with great rejoicing. Her first work of charity was the reconciliation of the king with his mother. At the first court celebration she was curt and cold with the ladies who wore dresses too decollete, while with those more modestly attired she was friendliness and attention itself. This silent rebuke had its good effect. Christina also insisted that Christian morals should receive due respect in the theater. Like Saint Elizabeth, she considered it her duty to show herself a mother to the poor. King Ferdinand gave her much freedom in the dispensing of alms, and though she possessed a considerable fortune from her family, she used very little of it for herself. Poor convents and churches, the timid poor of respectable families, and, indeed, every sort of needy persons, never applied to her in vain. If she could not personally visit the sick and prisoners she sent trusted messengers to give them help and consolation. In her leisure she made clothes for the poor, gave dowries to girls without means to enable them to make decent marriages, smoothed the way for others who wished to enter the religious life, and was to orphans a second mother. It was easy to see that die people idolized their queen. Not less did the people of the court express unreserved admiration of the virtues of their noble lady. There were some, however, who were moved only to envy. The joy of the people reached its highest when the queen, on January 16, 1836, in the third year of her marriage, presented them with an heir to the throne, later King Francis II. But their joy was soon changed into profound grief. The life of the child was the death of the mother. She predicted her approaching end, and died on 31 January 1836. The manifestations of mourning in Naples exceeded all bounds. It was evident that Maria Christina had won all hearts. Soon after her death, men began to speak of favors and miracles obtained through her intercession. Seventeen years later, when the ecclesiastical authorities opened the process of her beatification, they found her body still incorrupt. She was in every way a worthy likeness of the great Landgravine of Thuringia.

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Venerable Maria Christina”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 September 2018. Web. 22 January 2019. <>