Sister M. SANTINA FUMAGALLI
Five years after founding our first community in Venezuela, Sister Mary Santina Fumagalli came from Colombia. She was thirty years old, and a year later she made her Perpetual Profession.
She knew how to make the words of the Founder her own: “You will accompany the priest to the point of sacrifice, and you will share the Eucharistic bread with him. You will pray for the priest, you will accompany him in life, you will assist him in infirmity, you will follow him until finally, you are with him in Paradise, in the eternal Tabernacle.” (APD 1947,439)
She herself tells us:
“With the gift of admission to perpetual profession I received the assignment in Latin America. After a short stay in Colombia, the destination of Venezuela arrived. I arrived in Caracas on July 12, 1968, the 70th birthday of Mother M. Scholastica. I was entrusted with the task of accompanying the candidates and the sewing room. We lived in a small temporary house.
The first and most important Apostolate was the Eucharistic Adoration with the participation of lay persons. An atmosphere of great silence was preserved. Catechism was taught in a small country school; children were prepared for first communion. What amazed me most was the charm of nature, the variety of plants, the exquisite fruits, the beautiful flowers, the affable and generous people whose first greeting was and is: “God bless you”.
My first visit to Italy was in 1973, where I participated in a course of Spiritual Exercises in Rome. Mother Maestra, the Superior General, wrote to me in my personal notebook: “Return with confidence to this land that you must love as a second homeland, bearing in mind that our homeland is Paradise.”
In 1979 we began our service at the Apostolic Nunciature, where I stayed for the first year. We had the visit of the Holy Father John Paul II with great joy and happiness. On April 4, 1984, the birthday of our Founder, Fr James Alberione, we inaugurated the new headquarters of the Center for the Liturgical Apostolate with a chapel open to the laity and the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the center of the great capital, Caracas.
Formation workshops according to mission and spirituality were also encouraged, to update and respond to the needs of the local Church. I collaborated there for the first 3 years. From 1992 to 1995 I carried out my priestly service directly in the community of the Society of Saint Paul de El Hatillo. It was a beautiful experience and I saw young people grow in the Pauline charism.
In 1995 we opened the Priestly House of the Archdiocese of Caracas, for elderly priests. “This is a courageous initiative,” said Mother Mary Tecla, Superior General. I stayed for 10 years in this apostolic service.
In 2005 I was transferred to Barquisimeto. This city is known as the “City of Twilight”. Our ministry was the Eucharistic Adoration, the preparation for First Communion, especially where the priests are unable to be present. The vocational work was tiring, but it was fruitful, thanks to the union of the courageous sisters from Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and Japan”.
Sister Mary Santina left for the Father’s House in Cinisello Balsamo on March 3, 2020. I have shared with her several times as Sisters of the same Community, in El Hatillo, Caracas and Barquisimeto. She especially loved the city Barquisimeto and its sunsets.
Her zeal for priests was admirable and she had a special talent for embroidery. She really made Venezuela her second homeland.