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Blessed Giuseppina Nicoli

Charity was the rule of her life, her thoughts, her words and her actions. She lived in humility, immersing herself in the love of Christ and entering into the mystery of charity towards persons who are poor as an act of love towards the Lord.

1863, 18 NovemberBirth
1884Entrance into the Company of the Daughters of Charity
1885, 1 January Arrival in Cagliari
1893Ill with tuberculosis
1910Appointment as Provincial Treasurer, then as Seminary Directress in Turin
1913Return to Sardinia
1924, 31 December Death in Cagliari
2008, 3 FebruaryBeatified by Pope Benedict XVI in Cagliari
3 FebruaryLiturgical feast

Giuseppina was born in Casatisma (Pavia). Her family was well-off: her father was a magistrate and her mother the daughter of a lawyer. Giuseppini was the fifth in a family of ten children and loved by everyone. In Pavia, she earned her teacher’s certificate and wanted to dedicate herself to the education of children living in poverty.

In 1884, she joined the Company of the Daughters of Charity in Turin. After completing seminary, she was sent on mission to Sardinia and enthusiastically set off for Cagliari in 1885. Her health was weak. At the age of thirty, she fell ill with pulmonary tuberculosis, which progressively weakened her. Nonetheless, she gave herself without reserve. With her companions, she dedicated herself to assisting persons who were poor.

In 1889, she was appointed Sister Servant of the Sassari orphanage. She breathed new life into the Children of Mary, gathered the Ladies of Charity and led them in the service of those who are poor. She revitalized the catechism school, attended by about 800 boys and girls every Sunday. Most importantly, she established a school of religion for young women in high school and university to prepare them to be good Christians. With her companions, she began to assist prisoners.

In 1910, not without suffering, she left Sassari for Turin. A year and a half later, she was appointed Seminary Directress. On her return to Sassari for health reasons, her inner ordeal began. Because of misunderstandings and defamation on the part of the orphanage administration, her Superiors were forced to transfer her.

On 7 August 1914, Providence would take her, in the last stage of her life, to the nursery school of Marina of Cagliari. Italy entered the war in 1915. She discovered the moral and spiritual poverty of these underprivileged neighborhoods. She took an interest in the numerous young women who worked in tobacco factories and gathered them together thanks to the Spiritual Retreat Work. To visit those who are poor at home, she organized the “Little Ladies of Charity.” With them, in 1917, she opened centers to respond to the needs of the numerous cases of malnourished children, war orphans or those suffering from tuberculosis.

Sister Nicoli’s fame is linked above all to “the basket boys,” known in the city for their work instrument. They were abandoned children who become her greatest concern. Sister Nicoli treated these children with the same gentleness as a good mother. She prepared them to exercise a profession. She instructed them in the faith and established an “educational agreement” with them.

In 1924, the last year of her life, she suffered a slander that she accepted in silence, until the President of the Administration recognized the error. On her deathbed, Sister Nicoli forgave him wholeheartedly. On 31 December 1924, she died in Cagliari.