The line between simple poverty and masochism may seem very thin. The spiritual practices of a person may seem harsh to some and laudable to others. The line is actually between scrupulosity and sanctity. Why is it that some fast and others do not? Why is it that some wear hair-shirts and others do not - yet all are saints?
Spiritual practices are individual, and laudable if their source is Christ and not self-doubt, lack of self worth, or fear. To bind one's self to rigorous spiritual practices in order to pull oneself away from the appetites of the body and to place oneself in solidarity with the poor and sick, is a free act of will. And as such is obvious, as obvious as the over-scrupulous acts should be as a lack of will.
True piety should attract, false piety should repel.
Emilina was a lay Cistercian who practiced severe pieties, recited psalms, and had a deep commitment to prayer. She also apparently had the gift of prophecy. Unlike the “choir nuns” who were obliged to sing the Divine Office seven times each day, "lay sisters" were more like the support staff, aiding the community through their labor and sacrifice, by the work of their hands allowing the choir nuns the freedom to pray.
Her many attributes attracted others and she lived a long life of service, counsel, patience, and humility which eventually brings her into the light of the face of God.
As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
-- Luke 10:38-42