Magdalen of Canossa, Foundress of the Canossian Daughters of Charity, was born in Verona Italy on March 1, 1774.
She was the second child of Marquis Octavius Canossa and his noble Hungarian wife, Countess Maria Teresa Szluha. Magdalen was only five when her father was accidentally killed, and barely two years later her mother left the family to re-marry.
A French governess, appointed for the education of the children, rejected Magdalen for years. Matured by suffering and open to the needs of others, Magdalen decided to give her life totally to God in service to her brothers and sisters,especially the most needy.
On May 7, 1808, she left her ancestral home forever and, at the age of thirty four, she chose the poor and humble lifestyle of Christ, among the poor and simple people in the neighbourhood of S. Zeno, Verona, Italy. Magdalen died in 1835, aged sixty -one.
Magdalen was strong and tender, simple and shrewd, forthright and humble, intimate with God and, at the same time, deeply involved in the life of everyone she encountered.
She described her new Institute,
‘…while caring for its own good, it must work for the good of others’
‘…aiming at improving the morality of the growing generation, at succouring the orphans, the fallen, the unfortunate…”
Here in Australia we work for the “Integral Promotion and Formation of the Person” among the children in Early Childhood Centres and through activities with young people with preference for those “most in need”.