Blessed Giuseppina Nicoli

Charity was the rule of her life, her thoughts, words and actions.  She lived in humility, plunging herself in the love of Christ and penetrating the mystery : charity to the poor is an act of love of the Lord.

1863, 18 November birth
1884 entrance into the Daughters of Charity
1885,1 January arrival in Cagliari
1893 sick with tuberculosis
1910 named Provincial Treasurer, then Directress of the Seminary in Turin
1913 return to Sardinia
1924, 31 December death in Cagliari
2008, 3 February proclaimed Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in Cagliari
3 February feast day

Giuseppina was born in Casatisma (Pavie). Her family was privileged: her father was a magistrate, her mother a lawyer. Giuseppina was the 5th child and she was loved by everyone.  She obtained her diploma as a school teacher in Pavie and wanted to devote herself to the education of poor children.

In 1884 in Turin she entered the Daughters of Charity.  In 1885, after her Seminary, she was sent to Sardinia and left with enthusiasm for Cagliari. She had delicate health and, at the age of 30, she contracted tuberculosis. She did not spare herself even as it progressively weakened her. Along with her companions she never stopped serving those who are poor.

In 1889 she was named superior of the Orphanage of Sassari. She gave a new impetus to the Marian Association and reunited the Ladies of Charity and guided them to serve those who are poor.  She encouraged the catechetical school which had about 800 boys and girls each Sunday and she started a School of Religion for young girls in colleges and universities in order to prepare them to be good Christians.  With her companions she began assisting prisoners.

In 1910, not without suffering, she left Sassari for Turin. One and a half years later she was chosen as Directress of the Seminary. Having returned to Sassari because of her health, she began an interior Calvary. Misunderstandings and disparagements on the part of the administration of the orphanage forced her superiors to change her community.

On 7 August 1914 Providence then brought her to the last step in her life, the nursery school, Marina of Cagliari. Italy entered the war in 1915.  In the poor areas she found a moral and spiritual poverty. She took an interest in the many young girls who worked in tobacco manufacturing and brought them together for Spiritual Retreats.  For visiting poor persons in their homes she created the “Little Ladies of Charity.” With them, in 1917, she opened a welcome center to respond to the needs of the many cases of malnourished children, war orphans or those suffering with tuberculosis.

But above all, the renowned Sister Nicoli is associated with the “basket boys”, known in the city by the tools of their work. These abandoned children became her main preoccupation.  Sister Nicoli approached these boys with the gentleness of a grandmother. She taught them, trained them for an occupation. She instructed them in the faith, establishing an educational agreement with them.

In 1924, the last year of her life, she underwent a slander that she accepted in silence until the President of the Administration acknowledged his error. On her death bed she pardoned him with her whole heart. She died in Cagliari on December 31, 1924.