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Servant of God Chiara Ricci and the apostolate from Castelspina to the whole world

The territory of Castelspina transferred from the Kingdom of Sardinia and united to the French Sister Republics was the geopolitical outcome emerged from the Napoleonic cyclone and nomadism: Anthropic migration can expand the splendor on the site furrowed by the extraordinary stories built by the wise performers. The protagonist crossed at the locus is the most fertile allegory: Pope Pius VII was a prisoner of Napoleon at the bishop’s palace in Savona, the city where the nun Chiara Ricci was born.

Caterina Ricci’s story (Savona, July 8, 1834 – Castelspina, October 1, 1900) is defined by the consecration moved by the character. The human odyssey of Nina (the nickname given to the second daughter of five children of a wealthy family) began at the age of thirteen: the pain for her mother Clare’s death grew induced by studies interrupted to look after the four brothers and the new marriage of her father.

Catherine, seduced by fidelity to the warning of Saint Francis of Assisi practiced at the institute of Our Lady of Mount in Genoa, joined the Third Franciscan Order (March 19, 1861) and then abdicated the lay state to dress the tunic (June 21, 1863) and choose the name Clare to honor the deceased mother. The novice showed an aptitude to educate young generations and the maidens welcomed at the Conservatory of the Mount and, therefore, she migrated to Rivalta Bormida to lead the schools (elementary and kindergarten) and the House founded by the industrious friar Innocenzo Gamalero of Castelspina.

The excellent work done by the sisters preceded the consecration of some students and inspired the installation of the novitiate in Rivalta Bormida. The project, grounded by the Reformed Franciscan Rule, continued in Castelspina (August 5, 1882): the help of Father Innocent was providential to transfer Sister Chiara together with three sisters and build the new religious house. The Institute protected by the Madonna degli Angeli (the homage is addressed to the Porziuncola alias the emblem of forgiveness pleasing to the Saint of Assisi) received the first religious profession (12 December 1884) for the Sisters Tertiary Angeline of San Francesco aggregated to the Order Friars Minor. The Institute regulated by the first Constitutions (2 July 1889) expanded the apostolate to the community (orphanages, hospitals, schools, parishes): the dedication to health care and catechesis was then extended from the formation house moved to Turin (1899) the missions of Asia (China), South America (Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil), Africa (Chad and Congo).

The chapel inside the Institute built in Castelspina has kept the body of the founder and first superior general since 1923.

The evangelization promoted by the construction of schools and hospitals exalts the appeal of culture and health. This sensitivity also defines the initiatives set up at the international cultural hub of Marengo: the culture nourished by history and spread to citizens promotes the exercise of virtuous social practices.