Paula di Rosa left school at 17 to keep house for her father, an Italian textile-mill owner. She also took on the welfare of the factory girls, and she and the widowed Gabriela Echenos-Bornati nursed the sick during a cholera epidemic. Paula later set up a house for poor, abandoned girls and a military hospital. These charitable works evolved into the Congregation of the Handmaids of Charity, which was approved by the Vatican in 1850. Paula made her vows as Mary of the Crucified in 1852. She established convents in Dalmatia and near Verona, and died at home in Brescia after collapsing from physical exhaustion. She was canonized in 1954.