The Adorers of the Blood of Christ was originally founded in Acuto, Italy, in 1834 as a teaching order by the Italian, St. Maria De Mattias. Maria was born on February 4, 1805, in the small mountain village of Vallecorsa, Italy. At that period in history, Italy was suffering from political and social upheavals caused by Napoleonic rule. Practical and religious education was being neglected everywhere, and the daily life of the people had declined.
Teenage Maria felt invited to dedicate herself to the service of God while praying one day in her bedroom. During the 32 years between that first calling and her death in 1866, Maria established nearly 70schools. Most of these were located in under-served towns and rural areas. Maria made regular visits to the schools, often traveling from place to place on foot or by horseback.
On February 2, 1876, a month short of 10 years after the founder’s death, nine Sisters living in Gurtwell, Baden, Germany, came to the United States. According to the Jefferson County newspaper, The Press-Times, “Twenty-six days later they established the first convent in Piopolis, Illinois. From this nucleus came two distinct communities, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in O’Fallon, Missouri, and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in Ruma, Illinois. Its ministry was to staff schools, hospitals and homes for the aged.
After Maria De Mattias began her ministry, other women began to join her work, and the community eventually opened missions in Europe, China, Brazil, Congo, Australia, the United States and other places throughout the world. Maria was canonized a saint in 2003.