For Mother of Milan's New Archbishop, It's All God's Will

Interview with Giuditta Tettamanzi

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MILAN, Italy, JULY 14, 2002 ( Physically slight, with white hair, and bearing her 91 years gracefully, Giuditta Tettamanzi waited in a relative’s home last week for her son, the new archbishop of Milan, to appear.

“I wanted to repeat it to him the other day, when he was here in the evening and, as usual, dined in great haste,” she said of Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi. “I told him: My son, you have never sought anything, but if you have been chosen, you must say ‘fiat.'”

Q: A son who becomes an archbishop must be something quite overwhelming for a mother. Are you happy?

Tettamanzi: I have always been happy. We must be strong. What the Lord wills has happened, and this is what matters, because Father Dionigi was and is, his. From an early age he already expressed the desire to be a priest. I can only repeat to God: He is yours, do with him what you will.

Q: Were you expecting this appointment?

Tettamanzi: I knew there were rumors for some time.

Q: What would you like to say now to your son, the archbishop?

Tettamanzi: I remember what I told him when he became a priest. I repeated to him: Only with humility will you be able to take souls to God.

Q: Your son was first priest, then cardinal, and now archbishop of Milan. What will change for you, Madam? Milan is close; the cardinal will be able to come to see you more often.

Tettamanzi: I have no demands. When he calls me and asks me how I am, I simply answer: “Alleluia!” I have confidence in Providence. God sees and provides, our grandparents used to say. My son must do the will of God, not mine. When he sang the Mass, many wept, but I couldn’t. … I did not cry even when he was made cardinal.

Q: Why, could it be maternal insensibility?

Tettamanzi: Because I have always respected the choices made by Father Dionigi. To start weeping would seem to me to be an offense to the Lord. And I didn’t want that.

Q: The arrival of the new Archbishop will be a great jubilation for the whole diocese. How will you celebrate it?

Tettamanzi: With prayer.

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