Pope Francis approved the beatification of Queen Maria Cristina of the Two Sicilies on May 2, 2013. Born in 1812, Maria Cristina was the youngest daughter of King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia and his wife, Archduchess Maria Teresa of Austria-Este. Maria Cristina was the great-granddaughter of Austria’s Empress Maria Theresa. In 1832, Maria Cristina married King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. A shy and modest woman, Queen Maria Cristina was known for her charitable works and strong religious faith. She died aged only twenty-three in 1832 just days after giving birth to her son, who became King Francis II of the Two Sicilies in 1859. The beatification means that Queen Maria Cristina is one step closer to being canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church. A miracle attributed to the intercession of Queen Maria Cristina was recognized by Pope Francis, paving the way for her beatification. Illustration by WikiCommons.