Sr. GABRIELLA BORGARINO Daughter of Charity (1880 – 1949)
“Divine Providence of the Heart of Jesus, watch over us!”
“I’m only a miserable tool which Jesus wants to use. I want nothing more than to love him, to serve him and help him to save souls. “(August 4, 1932)
Gabriella Borgarino was born in Boves, a city in northern Italy, in the province of Cuneo. Her mother educated her children in faith, much more by her example than by words; her father was a tireless worker. “We were poor, but when my mother made bread and while it was still warm, she called my sister and me and told us: take it, the first bread must be offered to the Lord: bring it to the poor, but do it secretly, because alms must be given in this way.“
Teresa Borgarino (her baptismal name) spent a peaceful childhood. She received the Sacrament of Confirmation when she was about seven years old, and at nine she made her First Communion. From her own accounts we know that since her childhood, she was given the gift of hearing within herself the amiable voice of Jesus. So as soon as she received her First Holy Communion, she heard the divine voice telling her: “You’ll be a nun.” Indeed, when she was 19 years old she entered the Company of the Daughters of Charity, despite the opposition of her parents. At the end of the month of March 1900, Teresa began her postulancy at the hospital of Fossano, and after three months she entered at San Salvario, the Provincial house of the Daughters of Charity in Turin, in order to begin her Seminary. She was radiant, although she experienced the suffering of detachment from her loved ones, from her village and from her simple life as a country girl. In everything she was asked to do, she committed herself with great determination: in her prayer, her studies and her work, keeping her eyes always fixed on Jesus to overcome all the difficulties she met.
In 1902 Teresa Borgarino completed the Seminary, and her first mission was as cook in the “Misericordia” in Angera (Varese), on Lake Maggiore. Sr.Teresa soon distinguished herself by her dedication to the poor, her simplicity and her kindness. In 1906, she received the news to go to a new mission, as cook, in the important retirement home “Rezzonico” in Lugano, situated in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Deep in her heart she was certain that “Wherever obedience will send me, there I will find Jesus to serve and this is sufficient for me.”
On the 2nd of July 1906, when she was 26 years old, Sister Borgarino pronounced for the first time the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and of the service to the poor. As Sister Borgarino said several times, in June, 1919, at age of 39, Jesus gave her instructions on how to honor His Sacred Heart. During the celebration of the Mass in the Church of the “Madonnetta” in Lugano, after Holy Communion, she saw the Heart of Jesus surrounded by red and white roses, placed in the center of a large white sheet, while Jesus suggested that she repeat this short prayer: “Oh Jesus, my sweet treasure, give me your heart.” Sister Gabriella offered herself to Jesus to accomplish the mission she had been entrusted.