Today, 26 Mar 2012, is the 104th anniversary of death of Blessed Maddalena Caterina Morano (a.k.a. Blessed Magdalena Catherine Morano), a religious of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and an exceptional catechist. To set out on the vocational path God called her to, she needed patience and perseverance to overcome the obstacles in her path.
Blesed Maddalena Caterina Morano was born in 1847 at Chieri, near Turin, Italy. When her father and older sister died around 1855, 8 year old Maddalena had to enter the workforce to help her family survive. With determination Maddalena managed to juggle obtaining an education while taking on odd jobs. Her uncle, who was a priest, assisted her in her quest. At the age of 17 Maddalena, already feeling the call to religious life, obtained a teaching qualification. Unable to act upon God’s call until her mother was provided for and her younger siblings well on the way to adulthood, Maddalena worked as a teacher and catechist. It took some 12 years of work before she was able to save up enough to purchase a dwelling and sufficient funds to secure her mother’s future. Now she was free to follow the call to holiness where ever it might lead.
Maddalena was now 31, and about to fulfill her heart’s desire to enter the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. After waiting so long, a happy novitiate followed. So great was her desire for holiness that she asked the Lord on the day of her perpetual vows for the grace to stay alive until she had attained sanctity. When the bishop of Catania in Sicily asked nuns for help, Maddalena was one of those sent. Sicily is a long way from Turin, so Maddalena had to sacrifice seeing her family and her homeland in order to serve there.
Tirelessly she worked in these new surroundings to set up schools, train teachers, arrange after school activities and sewing classes, and new houses for the Order. As much as Maddalena loved to teach, she found her greatest joy in teaching the catechism to students. Many girls were attracted by her love for God, Our Lady Help of Christians and St Joseph, her readiness to serve His people and the joy with which she taught them about God. New vocations were numerous. For 25 years – a very long time in anyone’s book - she was given the responsibility to lead and guide her fellow religious. Under her leadership the community of nuns flourished and each parish in Catania had an effective catechetical programme.
The good Lord graciously heard and answered for prayer for holiness. Before entering into eternity she endured cancer and died on 26 March 1908. In 1994, Blessed Pope John Paul the Great proclaimed her Blessed. Jesus indeed only took her to Himself when she had attained sanctity.
Thank you Lord for raising up Blessed Maddalena as a role model and intercessor for all catechists. May her prayers help boys and girls come into deep relationship with God.
Blessed Maddalena Caterina Morano, pray for us.