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Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Orphans and the Pious House of the Annunciation

from: "Acts and Processes of the Sanctity and of the Miracles of the Venerable Jerome Emiliani", Somascan Fathers, edited by Fr.Remo Zanatta, Houston, TX 2015. P.98-100.

The institution of the orphans girls, also founded by Miani, was near the converted. The church was dedicated to the Announciation.
The first witness to be interrogated was Barbara Zanchi, daughter of Vincenzo and Elisabetta, she was from Redona. She was 45 and was accepted in the pious house at 7. She was in charge of the hand-looms.
Domenica Gavazzi of Bergamo was 42 and entered the Annunciation at 10. Her father was Giovan Battista, the mother Isabetta. She was in charge of the food and sewing teacher.
Anna Gabinali, or Gabuziali, of Bartolomeo and Maddalena. She was from Bergamo. She entered at 7. She was 39. Her duty was to keep in order the cloth.
These three witnesses were called to depose again in the apostolic process respectively on the 7th, 17th, and 18th of February, 1625. The second deposition is, in general, more abundant in news and details not only about Miani but the life itself of the orphans and institution. In the apostolic process other three orphans were interrogated who had received healing attributed to the intercession of St. Jerome: Giovanna Adobati, of Cristofoto and Antonia, born in Venice, 56, who used to help the teachers. Brigida Pellegrini of Celanella, daughter of Giobbe and Lucrezia, 47, in charge of the garden and of medicating. Maddalena Barili, 30, born in Bergamo in Borgo San Leonado, daughter of Rocco and Maddalena, who used to work at the hand-looms.
Also these depositions are rather generic. The old ladies had repeatedly narrated the facts of Miani’s life, but the young did not always put “enough fantasy”. In the recalling there remained especially the extraordinary facts, as the one of the bread. There are then the usual testimonies of general character: he was a men of holiness and bounty of life; in vile dress he used to do good and holy deeds, to bring back to good life the dissolute persons and build pious institutions.
In the apostolic process are not missing more particular news; he used to come often to the house of the orphan girls, which then was in the quarter of Pozzo Biano, to review “the actions”; among his friends there was a priest from Vicenza, a certain Angelo della Cera, a father Gelmo; he used to eat only bread and the worse giving the good one to the poor; he used to wear a black short cassock, a big leather pair of shoes and on the head hair “which were not beautiful”; for mortification he was wearing a low, small round cap called “bretignolo”; he was a strong, animated man; he had taught one of the mothers how to medicate especially the ring worm: before dying he wanted to wash the feet to all orphans one of whom, while dying, saw the luminous throne which would have received his father Jerome, he used to wear cloth he carried the cilice, he was sleeping on the bare ground.
Among the old ladies of the institution of the orphan girls the recalls are especially regarding sister Buona and sister Scolastica.
Sister Buona was born between 1515 and 1520. She died in 1593 about 80 year old. She had known Miani and many times talked to him. She had been a mother of the pious institution, “a completely spiritual woman, a good and exemplar life who was making many prayers.”
Scolastica died in 1610 about 90 years old, Father Vincenco Gambarana had entrusted to her the direction of the orphan girls; she kept that duty for many years. “She was a spiritual woman of very great devotion and attending with diligence to the government of the institution; she left a very good memory of her deeds and in the institution she is thought of holy life; she was making very many prayers”.
These two women among the first orphans gathered by Miani, besides preserving the memory with their word and testimony with their life, the bounty of their master, alimented in the hearts of the youngest a true devotion toward the founder.

The depositions give to the processes testify to that as well as the narration of the graces attributed to the intercession of St. Jerome; the sacks of bread deposited at the door while the whole community turns to him in prayer, or the basket of “fresh, white, beautiful” bread and great cheese in it, or the bag of money in a moment of need such as to induce mother Scolastica to pawn the chalice, and then the healings of Giovanna Adobati, Brigida Pellegrini and Maddalena Barili.

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