Asti (Italy). On 30 April 2022, in the town of Valfrenera, Asti, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sr. Onorina Lanfranco, missionary Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, pioneer of the Kindergarten in Colombia (1872-2022) was celebrated.

To recall the origins and precious heritage, the Mayor and the Municipal Council of Valfrenera, in collaboration with the Historical Archive of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Mother House of Nizza Monferrato (AT) of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI), within the 150th anniversary of the FMA Institute, various initiatives were organized.

On 30 April 2022, at 16:00, in the church of Saints Bartholomew and John the Baptist of Valfrenera, where Sr. Onorina was baptized, the parish priest, Fr. Igor Sciolla presided over the Eucharistic celebration in her memory. “She is a woman who knew how to fully live her call to God, who became a missionary, a witness to the Gospel, who understood how important it is to spread culture, the proclamation of God, so that all souls can grow in wisdom and truth, which leads to the Lord.”

“It is then a joy for us to celebrate the memory of Sr. Onorina today, because through her we realize the beauty of God’s plan, that the love of God is a universal love, which is able to embrace the whole humanity and through her testimony we can be urged to live a better life, in which we put ourselves at service, a humble, patient, obedient service. ‘Continue like this (…) because the path you are taking is the right path, it is the path of God’, wrote a Superior to Sr. Onorina,” said the parish priest in his homily. There were various FMA and people connected online, especially from Colombia (Homily).

After the Holy Mass, the official moment of the blessing of the plaque took place outside her birthplace in Largo Conte Quirico, which was attended by the Mayor of Valfrenera, Paolo Lanfranco, who recalled and contextualized her birth, making emerge the importance of recognizing a citizen who is a model of civic commitment for the community. In this regard, the Municipal Council plans to name a Kindergarten under construction, or a Square, after Sr. Onorina Lanfranco.

The Mayor thanked the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians for their contribution for the insights about Sr. Onorina, in particular Sr. Monica Tausa, Director of Mary Help of Christians Normal School in Santa Marta, Colombia; Sr. Maria Luisa Nicastro, Secretary General of the FMA Institute; and the Mother General, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, whom he had the opportunity to meet in Nizza Monferrato on 26 April 2022 on the occasion of the World Feast of Gratitude. He then gave the word to Sr. Paola Cuccioli, FMA, head of the Historical Archive of the Mother House of Nizza Monferrato, who outlined a brief biographical profile of the missionary. The event concluded with the unveiling and blessing of the plaque, in the presence of the great-grand nieces who recalled some memories transmitted to them by their parents. (Video)

A native of Valfenera, in 1894 Sr. Onorina Lanfranco entered the Institute of the FMA in Nizza Monferrato, Our Lady of Grace Institute, and after having acquired pedagogical skills in her studies, she held the position of teacher and teacher formator. In 1901, wishing to become a missionary, she was sent to Colombia by Mother Catherine Daghero, first successor of Mother Mazzarello. She arrived in Bogota in 1903. Here her great competence is valued and she will continue, in fact, to teach and will give rise to various schools in the Nation. She is renowned above all for the work of the Kindergarten for children aged 4 to 5, of which she becomes a pioneer and authoritative point of reference.

She died in Medellín, Colombia, on 31 December 1948 after having worked a lifetime for the education of children and the formation of teachers, proving to be a pioneer in education with a great ability to influence public education policy.

On 3 March 2022, in the 5th appointment of Salesian Thursdays at Auxilium, Sr. Monica Tausa, FMA, presented her pedagogical contribution.

To know more

Interview with Sr. Maria Luisa Nicastro, General Secretary of the FMA Institute

Interview with Sr. Monica Tausa, Director of Mary Help of Christians Normal School of Santa Marta, Colombia

Interview with Paolo Lanfranco, Mayor of Valfrenera (AT)


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