Sr Giuseppina Bertini

 
With Boldness and Love (28 January 1951 – 17 December 1998)

There were also handicapped children from the Kolbe Institute in Padua, Italy, who had come to say goodbye to their teacher: “Dear Giusi, we love you. You were so joyful and good.. When you entered the classroom with your big smile, you filled the place with sunshine.” There were many other expressions of gratitude for her life spent in total and concrete love.

But who was this “Dear Giusi?” She was one of the spiritual daughters of Francesca Schervier, founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, who had met the Focolare’s spirituality. In 1996 she wrote to Chiara Lubich,Mother Francesca can be proud for her daughter here!”

Originally from Ronciglione ,Viterbo, in Italy, Giuseppina felt the call of God when she was 16 years old. Her encounter with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in 1973 made her understand her vocation in all its fullness. She decided to leave her family. From a very young age she had been in contact with the Focolare Movement and she was among the first animators of the Gen-Re, which was founded by Chiara Lubich for young religious sisters who adhere to the spirituality of unity.

As for the spiritual formation of Sr. Giuseppina, there was the experience of the novitiate, the annual formation retreat for religious sisters who adhere to the spirituality of the Focolare that was held at “Villa Achillia” near to the international headquarters of the Focolare in Rocca di Papa, Italy.

From 1988 she was in Padua, Italy in order to begin a new community of the congregation called “Nazareth House”. She was ever attentive to seeing that mutual love was kept alive among her sisters. These were years in which she says: “The seed of the charism of Mother Francesca that I carried in my heart blossomed.” This occured particularly through her work teaching at the Professional Training Center for the Disabled in Villaggio San Antonio.

In 1991 the illness began: “I wasn’t planning on an illness for myself, “ she wrote, “and so this is all an impoverishment that becomes prosperity and the essential that becomes even more essential. I acquire the certainty that all that must remain of whatever I do is only Love. The present moment helps me very much, especially when I notice moods and states of mind that I don’t know how to explain.” This was a period of reflection and offering, offering every suffering in support of the many projects of her congregation and of the Focolare, which Sr. Giuseppina followed until the end of earthly journey on 17 December 1998.

After receiving the Anointing of the Sick she asked Jesus for the grace of His constant presence among all the sisters of the congregation. And her request sounded like a consignment to them.

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