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Blessed Giuseppina Nicoli, Daughter of Charity

Charity was the rule of her life, her thoughts, her words and her actions. She lived in humility, giving herself to the love of Christ and to living the mystery: a charity brought to life towards the poor is an act of love towards God.

The blessed Giuseppina Nicoli, Daughter of Charity, was born in Casatisma (Pavia – Italy) on the 18th of November 1863, the fifth of 10 children. Her Family constantly lived in a unity formed by profoundly Christian feelings.

In 1884, she entered the Company of the Daughters of Charity in Turin. After the seminary, she was sent to the island of Sardinia. In 1885 Sister Nicoli left with enthusiasm for the city of Cagliari. In spite of her precarious health, when she was thirty years old she became sick with Tuberculosis that progressively weakened her, she gave herself without reservation to the people. With her sisters, she dedicated herself to assist the poor of that place.

In 1889, she was named the superior of the orphanage of Sassari. She gave a new spirit to the Marian Association; she brought the Ladies of Charity together and directed them in the service of the poor. She invigorated the catechesis, receiving some 800 youth each Sunday, and, above all, she formed a school of Religion for the youth in the high schools and universities to prepare them to be good teachers of the faith. With her sisters, she began the assistance to the prisoners.

In 1910, not without suffering, she left Sassari to go to Turin. A year and a half later, she was named director of the Seminary. Returning to Sassari, because of her health, she began her interior Calvary. The superiors were forced to move her because of the misunderstandings and unfair criticisms on the part of the administration of the orphanage.

On the 7th of August 1914, Providence guided her, in the last stage of her life, to the maternal school of Marina in Cagliari. In this context of the poor, she discovered the moral and spiritual poverty of these neighbors. She involved herself with the youth, who were numerous, that worked in the manufacture of tobacco and she brought them together in the work of Spiritual Retreats. In order to visit the poor in their homes she organized the “Young Women of Charity”. With them, in 1917, she opened a facility in the suburb of Marina del Poetto to respond to the needs of the numerous cases of children who were undernourished or sick with tuberculosis.

The fame of Sister Nicoli is related above all “with the children of the basket”, as they were known in the city because of the utensil they used for work. These were abandoned children who became for her the most obsessive preoccupation.  Sister Nicoli treated these kids with the same delicacy that a good mother would have. She gave them classes to prepare them to take on a profession. She instructed them in the faith and established with them an educational agreement.

In 1924, the last year of her life, she suffered a calamity that she accepted in silence, until the president of the administration recognized the error. On her deathbed, Sister Nicoli pardoned him with all her heart. On the 31st of December 1924, she died in Cagliari.

She was beatified on the 3rd of February, 2008, in Cagliari.

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