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Maria Teresia Ledóchowska

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Blessed Maria Teresia Ledóchowska
Born 29 April 1863, Loosdorf, Austrian Empire
Died 6 July 1922, Rome, Italy
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 19 October 1975 by Pope Paul VI
Feast 6 July

Maria Teresia Ledóchowska (29 April 1863, Loosdorf, Austrian Empire - 6 July 1922, Rome, Italy) was a Roman Catholic nun and African missionary.

Members of the Polish nobility, she and her siblings - including Wlodimir Ledóchowski, Ursula Ledóchowska and Ignacy Kazimierz Ledóchowski - were born on the estate of their father, Count Antoni Halka-Ledóchowski. Their uncle was Mieczysław Cardinal Ledóchowski.

From 1885 to 1890, Maria Teresia was lady-in-waiting to the grand duchess of Tuscany. She had no feeling for religious life until she read an address by Charles Lavigerie, to whom Pope Leo XIII had entrusted the evangelization of Africa. She began to publicize his cause, which soon attracted donations.

She left the court, and, in 1894, organized the Sodality of St. Peter Claver for the African Missions and the Liberation of Slaves an association of laywomen to publicize the missions and administer funds. Leo approved the society on April 29, 1894. In 1897, it became a full-fledged religious order. Maria Teresia became known as "the nursing mother of the African missions". Between 1918 and 1933 the baptisms rose from 1.8 million to 4.9 million.

Pope Paul VI beatified her on 19 October 1975. Her feast day is 6 July. Her living descendants include the hypnotist Igor Ledóchowski.

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