Born into a large family in 1847, Madeleine Morano felt called to religious life from an early age, but as the main breadwinner, her family responsibilities delayed this. One of eight children, her father and older sister both died when Madeleine was 8, leaving the family dependent on her income. An uncle who was a priest helped her to continue her education while she worked.
Young Madeleine knew she wanted to teach, and her training began when she was employed at a new local school at the age of 14; she was an educator and a catechist for the rest of her life. By the time she was 30, she had saved enough to make sure her mother had a comfortable old age, and began to pursue her religios vocation. When she met Don Bosco, she was set on living a cloistered life with the Vincentians, but he persuaded her that her gifts were needed in a different life, and he accepted her into the Salesian Sisters shortly after.
In 1881, her superiors sent her to Sicily, where in addition to teaching working class girls, she trained teachers, set up new schools, workshops and hostels. She was also responsible for the formation of new sisters, and became Provincial.
She died from cancer in 1908, and was beatified by St Pope John Paul II in 1994.
We celebrate her feast on 15th November, the day of her birth.
Read more about her life