A short history
M. Assunta Pallotta was born in Force on 20 August 1878. On 5 May 1898, she entered the fmm postulancy at Grottaferrata, took the habit on 9 October of the same year, made her first vows on 8 December 1900 in Rome and her perpetual profession on 13 February 1904 in Florence.
On 19 March of the same year, she left for China aboard the Tong-eul-keu. A year later, during a typhus epidemic, she fell ill and died on 7 April 1905.
There was nothing extraordinary about her life, apart from the normality lived out in love, readiness to serve, fidelity and the joy of living. If there was something extraordinary in the banality of her life, it was that she never thought of herself, but always and in every circumstance gave herself for others.
When she died, an indefinable perfume spread through the room and soon reached all the places where Sister Assunta had been, a perfume that spread in waves and lasted for three days. This fragrance intoxicated body and soul, so that Sister Assunta’s death brought peace, serenity and joy in the Lord. The Chinese in the mission immediately called her “the saint of perfumes” and amazement at this prodigy immediately spread outside the mission. Eight years after her death, in April 1913, her body was exhumed and found intact. In 1923, the cause for her beatification was introduced, culminating in her beatification on 7 November 1954 in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

What this commemoration tells us
Sister Assunta still tells us today, and perhaps even more today, that it is not the things we do that count, but the intensity of the love that accompanies them. Her short life, just 27 years, intertwined with Jesus in the Eucharist, is a continuous YES to Love, like that of Mary and Francis, and the fragrance of her existence is still fresh to us. Sister Assunta reminds us not to seek joy in novelty, but to make our own existence a gift of happiness for others. Sister Assunta lived and still lives in humility, which is why we feel her very close to us and always call her “Sister Assunta” and almost never “Blessed Assunta”. She was chosen in the Institute as patroness of young religious, as a mirror of simplicity, fidelity and love renewed every day in the Eucharist and in the Virgin Mary.
In the Institute, we celebrate Sister Assunta on 7 November, the day of her beatification, and not on 7 April, the day of her death, as is customary for saints and blessed. The reason for this is that 7 April falls almost every year during Lent and often during Holy Week, when the saints are not celebrated, but only the Holy One, Jesus in his Paschal Mystery. The Institute therefore requested and obtained that her feast day be moved to the day of her beatification.

How to pray on this day
Perhaps the most beautiful and worthwhile prayer is to follow in Sister Assunta’s footsteps, to be imbued with the love she had for Jesus and Mary, to decentre ourselves so as to give ourselves to others without calculation or expectation of reward.
To take up her life and compare it with our own in order to rekindle and reignite it with love, fidelity and minority in joy and simplicity