New Evangelization to Have a Model Saint

Lady Juliet Was Forerunner in Accepting Charism of Catechesis

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By Carmen Elena Villa
ROME, OCT. 15, 2010 ( Mother Giulia Salzano intuited that the Lord was giving her a unique charism for her time: catechesis. And she accepted this mission wholeheartedly, founding a congregation of catechists and teaching the faith till her death.

«Donna Giulietta» (Lady Juliet), as she was known in Casoria, Naples, is one of six who will be canonized this Sunday.

«I will always catechize, until I have one thread of life left,» Mother Giulia (1846-1929) once said. «And I assure you that afterwards I will be very happy to die teaching catechesis.»

In fact, the day before her death at age 83, she tested more than 100 children preparing for their first Communion.

Giulia was born in southern Italy in 1846 to Diego, an army captain of Ferdinand II, king of Naples, and Adelaide Valentino.

Her father died when she was 4 and so she was entrusted to the Sisters of Charity from the age of 7 until she was 15. Then she began to teach in the school of Casoria, province of Naples, where she moved with her family in October of 1865.
These experiences awakened in her a special interest in the catechism and the education of young people, as well as devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Father Nuncio D’Elia, postulator for her cause of canonization, told ZENIT that the «intelligence of the faith that guided her in her teaching made her realize that children also needed ‘Christian doctrine.'»

«She intuited that the Lord was giving her a unique charism for her time: catechesis,» Father D’Elia said, describing this charism as «original and prophetic.» It was «cultivated in the centrality of love of the Sacred Heart and of the Virgin Mary. Hence, she let no occasion go by without catechizing.»
Friend of saints
Giulia was also blessed by saintly friends to support her on her path to holiness.

St. Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894), founder of the Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart and canonized last April, was among her associates and models.

Father D’Elia said Caterina was for Giulia a «point of reference whom she regarded with admiration, wisdom and emulation.»
Giulia also had a close bond with Blessed Ludovico de Casoria (1814-1885), professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor, founder of the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity, and of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth.
He guided her in the discernment of her vocation and almost prophetically said to her: «Be careful not to fall into the temptation of abandoning the children of our beloved Casoria, because the will of God is that you live and die in their midst.»

Moved by her constant concern to transmit the teachings of the Church and the life of Jesus, Giulia gathered around her a group of young women who desired the same thing. Thus in 1905, the Congregation of the Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart was born.
«The catechist sister must feel prepared at all times to instruct the little ones and the ignorant,» Giulia exhorted her daughters. «The sacrifices that such ministry calls for must not be measured, what is more, she should desire to die in this, if God so wills.»
Today the Catechists of the Sacred Heart are present in Italy (Rome and Casoria), Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, Peru, Indonesia, Colombia and India.
Lady Juliet died on May 17, 1929, dedicating herself up to the last minute to catechesis.

Father D’Elia described her life as «characterized by a spirit of obedience to the Church and by profound humility in the framework of a great spirit of prayer and love of the Sacred Heart.»

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