Blessed Josephine Gabriella Bonino
Savigliano, Cuneo, September 5, 1843 – Savona, February 8, 1906
Roman Martyrology: At Savigliano Piedmont, Blessed Josephine Gabriella Bonino, virgin, religious founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth for the education of orphans and assistance to the poor sick.
The religious vocation of the Blessed Josephine Gabriella Bonino was a happy combination of contemplative prayer and active engagement in the vineyard of the Lord among the people and for the people.
She was born in Savigliano (Cuneo), diocese of Turin, September 5, 1843 into a wealthy and deeply religious family. At the baptismal font were given the names of Anna Magdalena Maria Giuseppina. As was customary at the time, she had her first instruction in the home. A special privilege was having her First Communion at seven(compared to ten, which was planned), the following year she received her Confirmation. Since she was very little she was devoted to Our Lady.
In 1855 she moved with her family to Turin because of professional commitments of her father, who was a doctor. She attended high school with the Sisters of St. Joseph, growing in her own inner life: at the age of eighteen she obtained from her spiritual father permission to make a temporary vow of virginity. In the capital of Savoy were the years in which to succeed the extraordinary works of the so-called “social saints.”
At the age of 26, she came back to Savigliano. For five years, until his death, she lovingly cared for her ill father. She was committing meanwhile, increasingly, in her parish of St. Peter, where she became Rector and President of Local Pious Union of Daughters of Mary. Shook, since 1875, strong links with the Society of assistance undertaken by Giovanna Colombo ORFANELLE for the city. Attracted by the Carmelite spirituality matriculated at Third, after doing two years in the profession (March 19, 1877, the Feast of St. Joseph). The year before she was aggregated to the Franciscan Third Order of Penance.
Affected by a spinal tumor, May 21, 1876, was made almost by alarm, not having done the anesthesia effect. She healed under the heavenly protection of Mary and in September of 1877 she went to Lourdes, with her mother, to thank the Blessed Virgin. Here matured the final decision to consecrate to the Lord in the service of others, at the end of that year her mother died also. She continued her collaboration with the Opera Columbus and, at the suggestion of her spiritual director, Canon Luigi Davicino, she joined a hospice, dedicating it to the Holy Family.
In 1880 she retired into the monastery to prepare spiritually to its foundation, first among the Carmelites in Moncalieri, then by Visitandine Pinerolo. Although she still felt the desire to enter into seclusion, she finally decided to create a new religious family to help all the needy, be it orphans, elderly, sick or to educate girls. Her model was the Holy Family of Nazareth: the humble and laborious. A thirty-eight years she was elected Superior, which she remained until her death. On September 8, 1887, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, she received the approval of the diocesan parsonage, and on October 6, with eleven other companions, she made her solemn profession of vows, taking the name Sister Gabriella Giuseppina of Jesus.
In the years to come, she committed all her energies and assets inherited from her parents in the building of the Motherhouse in Savigliano, with adjoining church, and the formation of the sisters. Founded five other communities and, in honor of the Madonna, who wanted the first was at the Shrine of Loreto. We stay twenty-five times daily visiting the Holy House.
She died in Savona, at the age of 62 years, to a fulminant pneumonia on February 8, 1906. Her body was buried in the cemetery of Savigliano, and then tranferred into the church of the Mother House on April 8, 1961. Today, her charisma, as well as in Italy, lives through his sisters in a land of mission (Cameroon and Brazil). Mother Josephine Gabriella was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 7, 1995.
Holy Father, in the admirable design of your love you have aroused in the Church the Blessed Josephine Gabriella Bonino, fruitful witness of family values.
Through her intercession grant that flourish in our families the same virtues and the same love of the Holy Family of Nazareth to make every day in silence, in humility and simplicity, and your will find, with the right sense of life, the source of true peace.
Through Christ our Lord, amen.
Holy Family Institute
Via S. Peter 9
Author: Daniele Bolognini
SOURCE: Santi e Beati