BIRTH OF THE CONGREGATION ADORERS OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST


Vallacorsa, the small town in Italy lay on a spur of the Ausoni Mountains. The houses rested on the hillside in such a way that the roof of one was on the same level as the windows of the next. In times of danger from within, fugitives could crawl from one house to another without being seen and thus throw their pursuers off the track. The public square at the centre of the town opened onto two main streets- one running horizontally from the Suso gate to the Missoria, the other perpendicularly between new gate and St. Antony’s gate. The people were divided into three parishes and rivalry grew among them. The town lay in a narrow valley through which ran the Fossato River. The countryside still had a neglected look because the peasants had left it uncultivated for a long time.

Maria was born into a period of constant political turmoil. The civil life of Vallecorsa was marred by the feuding of a number of competing factions. The small kingdoms and republics on the Italian peninsula were constantly at war with one another. Politics and religion were intermixed, as the pope was also a ruler. Napoleon wanted to be emperor of everything. Because winners became losers and then winners again, those who were on the outs often holed up in rugged mountain enclaves and lived by raiding and intimidating the peasants and villagers. Commerce was disrupted; in the face of economic uncertainty and lack of steady work, young men who found it easier to live by banditry joined those who were outlaws for political reasons. The gang leaders became popular and romantic figures. In Maria’s soul, in fact, there was a comparison being made between the human blood poured out in hatred and revenge and the blood of Christ poured out for love, a Blood which saves.

Such was the milieu in which Maria De Mattias had grown to adulthood and from which she had attained vital experience to guide her in her future work as an apostle of precious Blood. This experience was the source, the force, and the motivation that brought her to the roads of Italy “to make known to everyone the tender love of the Heavenly Father”, as she said, or “the Crucified Love Jesus”. She was convinced that the reformation of society begins in the heart of the person, and that a person becomes transformed when she/he comes to understand how precious each one is in God’s eyes, how much each person is loved…Jesus gave all this Blood to save the human race. Beginning in Acuto – the place where today’s worldwide congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ had its beginnings was the little town of Acuto, situated high on a mountain some seventy miles southeast of Rome Italy. The date that marks the “birthday” of the congregation is March 4th, 1834. The woman whom God called to initiate this “work of God” was twenty nine year old Maria De Mattias, who had arrived in Acuto from her home town of Vallacorsa just two days earlier. Through the grace of God and the guidance of Giovanni Merlini, Maria De Mattias responded to a call from Bishop Giuseppeu Lais of Ferentino, who was looking for a pius teacher for Acuto. In her letter of acceptance, Maria wrote that she would go to Acuto with the intension, not only of teaching, but of founding an institute with the title of the Most Precious Blood. The decree of praise for the congregation was given by Pope Piou IX in 1855 and the first constitution came into existence in 1857. As of 2017, the ASCs are spread out in five continents and 26 countries with 10 provinces, 4 foundations with a total number of 1500 sisters. The Superiors General since the foundation of the congregation is 17. The sixteenth Superior General was from India.