July 23, Saint Bridget of Sweden, religious

Mamma Carolina

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit … Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing … If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you … Jn 15,1-8

The passage of the gospel of today made me thinking of Mamma Carolina, a woman of the people who left us since some years and whose cause of beatification is already in progress. I consider it a gift from the Lord to have had the opportunity to know her personally. She had come from the countryside to Florence and she was a woman without that culture which is acquired in the classroom, but very rich in the faith and of “sapientia cordis”, of wisdom of the heart. Her exuberant temper, her incessant outbursts of love for the Lord and for the poor people of every type, pushed her to run wherever there was need of her. When it was not necessary to assist the neighbor, she used to take refuge in church to pray to implore graces, with insistence and perseverance. The teachings which I inherited from her are many, but the most beautiful of all, for me, is that of the absolute fidelity to the Lord: “United to him – she used to say – you can perform incredible exploits, without him we cannot complete even the simplest actions of the daily living”. Mamma Carolina practiced this truth, announced by the today’s gospel, at first in the work of the “first holy communions”, when she managed to organize the celebration of this sacrament for hundreds of children. She was used to ensure all the formal dresses and then, after having celebrated the sacrament, to organize great refreshments for the relatives and their guests. In later times, when it was not longer a problem for the families of the workers to buy clothes and to organizing the party for the first communion, she dedicated to the support of those places of seclusion, remained isolated and neglected by the support of the faithfuls. This commitment led her to travel the roads of Italy and one day, just in a car accident, concluded her earthly race. To us, that we consider ourselves the same branches of the vine, Mamma Carolina has left the enthusiasm in performing the works which the Lord has entrusted to us: several works from different branches, but always of the same vine.

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