13 Nov 2019
Salesian Saints: Blessed Madeleine Morano, FMA (1847-1908), virgin
Salesian Saints of November
Blessed Madeleine Morano, FMA (1847-1908), virgin
By Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, SDB, and Fr. Giorgio Mocci, SDB
Madeleine Catherine Morano was born at Chieri in the province of Turin on November 15, 1847. At age eight she lost her father Francis, and she left school to help her mother in the household chores.
She resumed her studies thanks to an uncle who was a priest. The teacher appointed her to help look after the smallest children. At this time she met Don Bosco for the first time while he was passing through on his way to Buttigliera d’Asti.
Madeleine aspired to become a teacher, and at age 17 she earned her teaching certificate. When she was 19 she began to teach at Montaldo Torinese, which she did diligently and ably for 14 years, winning the respect and esteem of everyone in town.
Moved by a desire to be consecrated to the Lord, Madeleine sought counsel of her spiritual director and, after buying a house for her mother with her savings, she went to talk with Don Bosco. He sent her to Mornese, where Mother Mazzarello welcomed her with joy and immediately set her to teaching.
In 1880 she was consecrated to God by perpetual vows and asked the Lord for the grace “to remain in this life until she should attain holiness.” At the request of the archbishop of Catania in Sicily, Madeleine was sent in 1881 to direct the new work at Trecastagni. For four years she directed, taught, washed, and cooked. When she taught catechism, her example was such that the girls began to say, “We want to be like you!”
After a year’s break in Turin, where she directed the FMA house at Valdocco, she was sent back to Sicily as visitor, directress, and mistress of novices. She had the responsibility of founding new houses and forming holy sisters. Ever turning “one glance toward earth and ten toward heaven,” she opened schools, youth centers, hostels, and workshops in every part of the island.
Numerous vocations came forth, attracted by her apostolic zeal and the climate of community that she formed around her. The island’s bishops appreciated and encouraged the various forms of her apostolate. At Catania she was put in charge of the catechetical work of the entire archdiocese and with founding new youth centers and the Teachers College.
She was very devoted to St. Joseph and to Mary Help of Christians, who guided her in the new foundations, and she succeeded in faithfully planting in the local culture Don Bosco’s charism and the Preventive System.
Suffering from a tumor, Sister Morano died on March 26, 1908, at Catania. At her death there were 18 FMA houses in Sicily, 142 sisters, 20 novices, and 9 postulants. Her remains are venerated at Alì Terme in Catania. St. John Paul II beatified her at Catania on November 5, 1994, praising her as educator and teacher.