Tortona's "Angel" Did the Everyday Things Well

Sister Nemesia Valle to Be Beatified

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 23, 2004 ( Among the six people John Paul II will proclaim blessed this Sunday is Sister Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916), an Italian religious who gave her life to God and to others out of love.

What was extraordinary in her life was her «daily holiness, very attentive, constant,» explained the postulator of her cause, Sister Anna Antida Casolino on Vatican Radio.

When the future blessed described holiness she said: «It does not consist of great things, but of doing well everyday duties and being consumed in the place where one has been called to act.»

To this must be added Sister Nemesia Valle’s capacity «not to be disturbed, to wait for God’s time while respecting persons, in the educational field, as well as in the formation of novices,» Sister Anna said.

Giulia was born on June 26, 1847, in Aosta. She entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida Thouret in 1866.

At the end of her novitiate, she received a new name along with her habit: Sister Nemesia, the name of a martyr of the early Church. She was happy, and made her name the program of her life: «To witness to her love of Jesus to the last consequences, at any price, for ever.»

She was sent to Tortona, to St. Vincent’s Institute. She taught French in primary and secondary school, and was always on hand when a humble task had to be done for development, to alleviate suffering, when a difficulty impeded peaceful relations, or when exhaustion, sorrow, or poverty limited life, says a biography issued by the Holy See.

She was called «our angel» in Tortona. At 40, she was appointed superior of the community.

In 1903 — after 36 years — she went to Borgaro, a small town near Turin, where a group of young people were waiting for her support to give themselves to God in the service of the poor: the novices of the new province of the Sisters of Charity.

Sister Nemesia always used the same method of formation: that of goodness, understanding which teaches renunciation out of love, patience that knows how to wait, and finding the right way appropriate to each one, according to the Vatican biography.

«She knew each one of us,» recalled one of the 500 novices she educated.

«She understood our needs, she treated us according to our way of being, she would ask us for that which would make us love,» the testimony states, given for the cause of her beatification.

On Dec. 18, 1916, Sister Nemesia died at 69. The prayer she had made her own from the beginning — «Jesus, strip me of myself, cloak me in you» — was a constant throughout her life.

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