Sister M. Giacomina – Teresina Adriano
On our journey with the first eight Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, we are once again in S. Pietro di Govone, a fertile ground not only for agriculture but also for priestly and religious vocations. Among the Pious Disciples we remember, in addition to Sr. M. Giacomina Adriano, Mother M. Antonietta Marello followed by her sister Sr. M. Alfonsa, Sr. M. Clara Cantamessa, Sr. Saveria Pistamiglio, who heroically consumed her life in Poland; Sr. M. Felicina Airano, Sr. M. Cecilia Cantamessa, Sr. M. Pierangela Bottallo.
In their modest house Biagio Adriano and Carolina Cantamessa on January 28th, 1898 celebrated the birth of Teresina. Life in the family and in the parish nourished her human and spiritual growth and Teresa matured in the desire to dedicate herself totally to the Lord. Welcomed by Fr Alberione, she entered St. Paul’s in Alba on April 15th, 1920. Soon after, she became part of the community of Susa.
A simple girl to the point of naivety, easily judged as childish, she possessed the wisdom of the saints. In her life we see how the Lord accomplishes “great things” through humble instruments, whose inner richness shines before his gaze and radiates all over the world. Jesus’ exultation is applicable to her: “I praise you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, for thus you have decided in your kindness” (Lk 10:21).
She knew how to go to the essential, and the essence of her gift was the fruit of her silent, total love for the One who loves totally: Jesus the Master Way, the Truth and Life. She met him in her youth, followed him, listened to him in meditation and in prayer. Her interior life grew, and she increased in her union with Him. She was aware of his presence, she guarded his Word, she served him in everything, obedient to every request.
When, in addition to Orsola and Metilde, five others were “set aside”, everything seemed completed with the seventh. However, Prima Maestra, Tecla Merlo turned to Orsola and said: “I want to give you a gift, take Teresina Adriano with you, you will be happy“. She was truly a precious person, capable, because of her humility and abandonment of special intercession with God. “An innocent creature”, Mother Scholastica writes, “who is guaranteed Heaven! “.
The new name
On March 25th, 1924, with her religious profession, she was given the new name: Sr Giacomina of the Guardian Angel: the name of a great apostle, the Founder, and the Guardian Angel. She was very happy and accepted as a mandate the intention entrusted to her by Mother Scholastica: “You must pray every day for the Father Theologian and help him with your silence and prayer“.
Trusting in the name she received, she then nourished a particular devotion to the Guardian Angel: she believed in his presence, conversed with him, turned to him in various needs, to obtain help for herself and for others. In all needs, she often repeated that she always received a reassuring answer to her prayer. She welcomed his company with gratitude and, one can say, with humble audacity, with the Guardian Angel she felt safe in every situation. She was happy when the sisters, with respect and sometimes with a pinch of humor, remind her of her good Angel and with curiosity questioned her to know if she sees him, if he speaks to her and how she imagines him. They always received a sure and convincing answer and, in some cases, only a smiling silence that revealed many things.
Sr. M. Giacomina was not entrusted with special offices. Her duties were generally common, ordinary, and with a constant smile on her face, she worked and prayed. She was happy to do so and when she was tired, she spent herself for the One who saw everything and who alone, knew how to measure the value of gestures of love made in the shadows.
The voices follow each other: “Meeting Sr M. Giacomina did me so much good … Conversing with her meant returning to the luminous sources of the Gospel, to the humble and serene beginnings of the Institute … to contemplate the power of prayer… Hers was a language of few words, but her expressions revealed sources that were rooted her soul. They were assimilated in such a way that pointed her whole existence and communicated the driving force of her total offering …”
Her short writings, in all their spontaneity, show much attention to the words of the Founder: “Always obey the Primo Maestro and all recognized authority; be poor in spirit and in fact; purity in a steady upward climb: observe silence; practice charity; pray for priests … “.
Send Sr Giacomina…
Especially at the beginning of the foundations, and in the period of the construction of the Temple of St. Paul’s in Alba, Fr Alberione was faced with difficulties and many requirements, which did not have immediate and clear answers to the complex situations as he journeyed forward.
Often, he went to Sister Scholastica with the detailed request:
“There is an urgent need for light and grace, send Giacomina to pray and stand before Jesus in the Eucharist until she is called“.
Calm and attentive, Sister Giacomina went to pray. She was aware of being a small and poor creature and she placed her faith in obedience to the Founder, in the goodness of God the Father, she turned to the One who can do everything. From Him it was possible to obtain what was asked for his glory and the good of souls. She was sure that the bent knees, the gesture of the arms raised in the attitude of the person praying, were expressions of faith. It was an uncomfortable position that occupied one or two or even more uninterrupted hours, depending on the case. The intentions for which she was sent were not revealed to her, but she goes and prays in the certainty that the Lord hears the prayer of the poor who cries out to Him. That was enough for her. She prayed until the Theologian said to Sister Scholastica: “Tell Sister Giacomina that she can go out, the grace is received! “.
When her strength declined, she arrived in Sanfrè. In particular, the slow loss of sight was one of the hardest sufferings she was called to face, but it was also the time of her offering and intercession for priests, religious, new vocations, the Pauline apostolate, reparation … One day, towards the end of her life, she met Mother General, Maria Lucia Ricci and said: “I have to tell you something…, I see no more, I am in the dark, but I am happy to offer my darkness, so that the priests may have light and spread light … “. This is a sign of the awareness of a vocation received from God, that was consumed totally in the life of a Disciple of Jesus Divine Master: she gave her all.
Her earthly existence passed away peacefully, in the home of Sanfrè, at 3.50 pm on May 4th, 196. It was the day of the Ascension, and it was also the first Thursday of the month, so dear to her, because it was dedicated to the Guardian Angel. She entrusted her spirit to God at the time when the priest and the sisters who were present were beginning to pray the priestly prayer: “Father, the hour has come… “.
In death, Sr. Giacomina’s eyes were opened: she was called to look “upwards”, to meet the Divine Master, to contemplate his glorious Face, in the light that never fades.