Rome (Italy). March 26, 2023 marks the anniversary of the birth into heaven of Blessed Maddalena Morano (1847-1908), Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, whose biographical story is linked to Piedmont and Sicily, in particular to two towns: Montaldo Torinese (Turin) and Alì Terme (Messina).
Orphaned of a father, second of four children, Maddalena is forced to leave school to help her mother in the weaving work. Thanks to the help of her priest uncle, she resumed her studies and at the age of 17 she obtained a teaching diploma. It is precisely in Montaldo Torinese that Maddalena begins to teach, demonstrating a singular talent as an educator and teacher, which in a short time makes her a point of reference for the whole town. After 14 years of teaching, thanks to the small amount she put aside, she buys a house for her mother and she decides to consecrate herself to God.
She is about thirty years old and the doors of the convents she knocks on remain closed to her. Once she arrived in Valdocco, Don Bosco encouraged her to go to Mornese. It is Mother Mazzarello herself who welcomes her. She made her temporary profession in 1879, and her perpetual one in 1880. Sister Maddalena is director of the boarders of the Mother House in Nizza Monferrato. After the death of Mother Mazzarello and the subsequent General Chapter, she was sent as animator to Trecastagni (Catania). Her great educational passion for God and for the young finds a broad and challenging mission in Sicily where she will remain until her death on 26 March 1908, when she has now “completed the measure of holiness”, as she had asked the Lord the day of her first profession.
In recent months some initiatives have taken place, which contribute to deepening the knowledge of this Blessed.
On 25 November 2022, at the Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church – held in Verona, 24-27 November, on the theme “Building Trust. The Passion of Encounter” – Sr. Monica Roncari, from the Maria Ausiliatrice Province (IPI), presented a video made especially for this event by the Communication Sector of the Piedmontese Province, with the collaboration of the Municipality of Montaldo Torinese. In the video, Montaldese Prof. Valeria Martano and Sr. Mariella Lo Turco, from the Sicilian Province Madre Maddalena Morano (ISI), retrace the biographical story of the Blessed, highlighting her pedagogical, relational, and spiritual qualities.
In January 2023, Velar Editors published “Blessed Maddalena Morano. Nostalgia for God and love that educates”. The author is Fr. Valentino Salvoldi, university professor and theologian, missionary and author of numerous publications, who in the introduction explains the reason that prompted him to write this book. “After my family, the Salesian Sisters contributed to my formation since kindergarten. (…) Recently, in the province of Messina, in Colle S. Rizzo and in Alì Terme, I met a good many of the Salesian Sisters of Sicily for a long time, whose spirit of dedication I admired in the formation of young people”.
He was invited by them to discover and present to others “the validity and topicality of the message, the courage in addressing the question of women in Sicily, the intelligent ability to acculturate and to enculturate the Gospel, together with the Preventive System of Don Bosco, in the education of children and young people” of Mother Morano.
The volume, written with the advice and collaboration of Sr. Maria Concetta Ventura of the ISI Province, contains the preface by Bishop Enrico Dal Covolo, Salesian of Don Bosco and the Afterword by the Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola. The latter recalls that “Mother Morano combines motherhood and resourcefulness, her educational and governing skills by living her secret, ‘seeing the good Jesus in every person’. Thus, she becomes a point of reference thanks to her calm steadfastness, her goodness, her capacity for inculturation, without complexes and without nostalgia”.
To celebrate and remember the Blessed, declared “Patroness of Catechists and Educators” on 26 March 2023 in Alì Terme, the friendship pact will be signed between the Municipality of Montaldo Torinese and that of Alì Terme, signed by the Mayors, in the presence of the Vicar General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Maria del Rosario García Ribas, significant recognition of a story that began with the life of a woman who knew how to love beyond all borders and prejudices. The Eucharistic Celebration in the Sanctuary will be presided over by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Messina – Lipari – Santa Lucia del Mela, Msgr. Giovanni Accolla.
In the afternoon, the Pilgrimage of the Catechists will follow, a journey that will retrace the main stages of the life and holiness of the Blessed, starting from Piazza Madre Morano.