Guarene, the village in the province of Cuneo and the diocese of Alba, where Orsola Rivata was born on July 12, 1897, has not forgotten this daughter and keeps her memory alive with many significant initiatives.
In the Parish
In Guarene, a great devotee of Mother Scholastica was Fr. Biagio Gagliardi, pastor from 1977 to 1994. During his term as director of the diocesan house of retreats of Alba, located in Altavilla, he met Mother Scholastica and, perhaps because of a certain spiritual affinity, he was impressed by this person who communicated greatness and radiated a profound intimacy with the Divine Master. He recalled how, even when she was working, Mother Scholastica prayed and sang. She especially invoked the guardian angel and recommended that all pray to the guardian angel with great confidence.
One year, during the Easter Blessing, Fr. Biagio offered the book La prima madre delle Pie Discepole, written by Mother M. Lucia Ricci, to all the families in his parish and, in every issue of the parish bulletin, he inserted a paragraph dedicated to her. He diffused her image everywhere, entrusting many persons to her intercession and proposing that the persons he met in his ministry have recourse to her.
Even after his death (November 10, 1996), the parish of Sts. Peter and Bartholomew did not forget Mother Scholastica. The current pastor, Fr. Dario Saglietti, proved to be very hospitable and continued some of the traditions begun by his predecessor, such as the annual harvest of apples and produce for the community of Sanfre’, begun in 1981, following the arrival of Mother Scholastica to that community, as a sign of sharing and a bond with her place of origin.
In the municipality
The municipality of Guarene has not remained indifferent to the life of this citizen.
Photo exhibit – In 2004, in occasion of the conclusion of the year in honor of Blessed James Alberione, following his beatification and the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, the city hall of Guarene hosted a photo exhibit: “A daughter of this land, Sr. M. Scholastica Rivata”, which was inaugurated by the mayor, Emilio Cravanzola, on March 28 and visited in the course of a week by the students of the zone and many other persons as well.
In his speech, after presenting a biographical sketch of Mother Scholastica, the mayor said:
“…For the past several years our society has rightly proposed a greater appreciation of women, who for too many centuries have been subordinated and unjustly treated. Thus women are presented as models who work effectively in the various areas of human activity: from science to culture, from politics to economics, from sports to labor. All of this is certainly just and worthwhile. It is to be spread and supported. But I believe with profound conviction that the figure of Sister Mary Scholastica, humble but capable of successfully bringing to completion both spiritual and human activities, is a formidable model at the highest level who we are called to share, honor and propose, especially to our young people, in these times which are so difficult, so violent, so indifferent to human life, principles and the freedom of others”.
He then announced:
“…Guarene intends to acknowledge and honor Sr. M. Scholastica by naming the plaza in front of the parish church for her. It was there that she frequented the sacraments and prayed”.
On September 18, 2005, with a solemn ceremony in the presence of civil and religious leaders and a large delegation of the Pauline Family, the plaza in front of the parish church was dedicated in her honor.
In the new municipal administration, the mayor of Guarene is Mrs. Carla Boffa, who said in her speech:
“To the figure of our illustrious fellow citizen who offered her life to the Lord and who was deeply bound to our city and to our land, we have proposed, through the deliberations of the council, under the guidance of Mayor Cravanzola, on February 25, 2004, to dedicate this plaza, currently named “February 11 Plaza” to Sr. Mary Scholastica Orsola Rivata”. Subsequently, by decree of the Prefecture dated July 8, 2005 and signed by the prefect Dr. D’Alfonso, whom we have the honor to welcome to Guarene as our most congenial guest, the mayor of Guarene was authorized to grant the new denomination to the plaza.
Thus today, in occasion of this harvest festival, dedicated to the produce of our land which represents the struggle and toil of our people, we reveal the marker dedicated to Sr. Scholastica who we honor today and invoke as Servant of God as we await that the Church propose her as a model of faith, of hope and of charity. We ask her to protect us all and lead us on the right way, walking with us on the difficult journey of life in the Lord’s way”.
In a book
In his book, Guarene tra storia e storie, Pietro Romanello dedicates a chapter to the “illustrious unknowns of the streets and locality of Guarene”.
“Sister Scholastica – among the illustrious unknown persons who bring honor to Guarene in our times is the noble figure of an authentic daughter of Guarene who passed away recently: Sr. Scholastica, also known as Orsola Maria Rivata. She was the first Mother of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master whose cause for canonization is in process. She was born on July 12, 1897 in the house at 24 Via Luccio. She died in Sanfre’ on March 24, 1987 at 90 years of age…. Fr. James Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family discovered in the young Orsola Maria Rivata a suitable element to begin and sustain the Congregation of the Pious Disciples, whose Rule of Life is based upon the Eucharistic adoration and the hidden sacrifice in “silence”: that active silence which still characterizes the great Pauline Family”.
From Guarene, Orsola went to Alba and from Alba to the world…
…to bring to all the proclamation of peace and joy which continues to resound for us even today in her Easter message:
My most affectionate
greetings for a happy and holy Easter,
accompanied by the remembrance and prayer
before Jesus our Risen Master.
May he grant us the grace of making this a new stage
in the journey of our short life toward the heavenly homeland.
Mother M. Scholastica Rivata