Many people picture medieval darkness when they think of Naples, Italy. Amid the aged cobble streets and tight walkways, there is an iridescent light found among its corners. In 1866, a gem was born in the eastern quarter of Naples. Maria Grazia Tarallo graced the arms of her parents, Leopoldo Tarallo and Concetta Borriello. 

From a young age, Maria found herself drawn to Our Lord. With an understanding beyond her years, she consecrated her virginity at the age of five. She received Our Lord at the age of seven, and she is often depicted with the host and chalice hovering above her. 

Confirmed at the age of ten, the years she lived between then and her entrance into the convent at twenty-five were marked by devotion to Jesus. Her father desired her to marry, but Maria longed to become a bride of Christ. She was engaged to a young man at the age of twenty-two, but before they could be married, he died suddenly of tuberculosis. 

It was three years after that her desire became a reality. On June 1, 1891, she joined the Adorers of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, now known as the Congregation of the Crucified Adorers of the Eucharist. The foundress of the order, Servant of God Mother Maria Pia of the Cross, gave the girl the name, Sister Maria of the Passion. 

She served many roles throughout her vocation. She was assigned to the kitchen, laundry service, and as a porter. Later, in 1910, her role as porter would blossom into a spiritual door as Mistress of Novices. 

Throughout her life, she was devoted to Our Lord’s Passion and to Our Lady of Sorrows. Also, she was devoted to the Eucharist encompassing Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Truly, she was intimately and entirely united to her Love as she embraced Him as both Man and God. 

Besides these remarkable qualities, Sr. Maria of the Passion was a mystic. She would receive visions, prophecies, and ecstasies. After praying for the conversion of a sinner at the request of her superior, she was attacked by the devil. This assault was so vicious that it injured her right arm. Surgery was needed to fix it, but instead it left her arm mangled. Sr. Maria could no longer perform physical work, so prayer became her primary occupation. 

Her fellow sisters would often hear her being attacked by the devil nightly. In the morning, she would bear marks of his attacks. Still, Maria persevered by offering herself as a victim soul in reparation for sinners and for priests who had strayed in their vocations. 

On July 27, 1912, Sr. Maria of the Passion passed away. She had predicted her death one month earlier. Four doctors examined her as her illness was sudden and lasted fifteen days. She died at the convent in San Giorgio a Cremano, and many people came to honor this beloved nun. 

On January 19th, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI declared her a Blessed, and her beatification was celebrated in the Cathedral of Naples on May 14, 2006. 

Today, the Congregation of the Crucified Adorers of the Eucharist have convents throughout the world and humbly continue to devote themselves to Our Lord’s Passion and the Eucharist. In some places they lovingly create the hosts to be consecrated and received at Mass. 

In the town of San Giorgio a Cremano nestled in Naples, Italy, a small chapel holds the body of Blessed Maria of the Passion. Although she spent her life hidden in the convent, her story can light our hearts ablaze amid daily and nightly trials reminding us to unite ourselves with Christ’s Passion, Our Lady of Sorrows, and the Eucharist.