Sunday, May 20, 2007

Itala Mela (28 August 1904 - 29 April 1957), Servant of God

On 3rd May 2007, the Archbishop of Genova, Angelo Bagnasco, as Metropolitan of Liguria, travelled to the Cathedral of Cristo Re in La Spezia to preside over the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the death of Itala Mela, a Servant of God, who was born and who died in the city of La Spezia, a town on the coast half-way between Genova and Pisa.

Itala Mela was chosen by Ligurian bishops as the most significant figure amongst Italian Catholics in the 20th Century.

She was born in La Spezia to two teachers. Her parents were not religious. She was brought up by her maternal grandparents who prepared her for her first Confession and Communion. Her parents did not send her for her second Communion.

In 1920, tragedy struck the family. Her nine year old brother, Enrico, died suddenly. She wrote later of the feelings she and the family experienced: "Dopo la morte, il nulla”. After his death, nothing.

She attended the University at Genova. She appears to have been an outstanding student.

In December 1922, she appears to have undergone a radical transformation after having accepted an invitation to go to Confession and Communion. For her, it was the beginning of a new life.

In 1923, under the guidance of her Confessor, her faith deepened. She said: “Signore ti seguirò anche nelle tenebre, a costo di morire”. Lord, I shall follow you into the darkness, unto Death.

As a student she joined FUCI, a national grouping of Catholic university students. The future Pope Paul VI was an important influence on this group. From this association came many of the leaders of the Christian Democrats after the fall of Fascism and in the reconstruction of Italy after the Second World War: Andreotti and Moro were both leading lights of the Association.

She continued to deepen her faith. In 1928 before the tabernacle in the church of the seminary at Pontremoli, she had her first vision of God: a ray of light and a voice or realisation

In 1928,she transferred to Milan and Mons. Adriano Bernareggi (later to become Bishop of Bergamo) became her confessor. She considered and pondered a vocation in the Benedictine order.

In 1933, she completed her novitiate and in S.Paolo fuori le Mura in Rome, she took her four vows (virginity, poverty, obedience and transformation of her life) as an Oblate in the Benedictine Order. She took as her name: Maria della Trinità. Her name summarised her devotions: the Mystery of the Trinity and Mary.

Illness prevented her proceeding further as a religious. In 1933, she returned to La Spezia.

From then until her death in 1957, she proceeded with her religious vocation.

In 1941 she presented a Memorial to Pope Pius XII who accepted it.

A mystic. Her writings. Her idea of the “famiglia sacerdotale”. All centred on her idea of her experience of visions of the Mystery of the Trinity, and its relation to Mary.

Her body was transferred in 1983 to a special tomb in the Crypt of the Cathedral of Cristo Re in La Spezia.

The vice postulator of her cause is Don Gianluigi Bagnasco. The validation of the Diocesan inquest was in 1992. Her cause is promoted by the Convent of S. Maria del Mare, P.zzale S. Stefano, 1, 19020 Marinasco, located in the village of Marinasco overlooking La Spezia.

Most writings about her are in Italian.

Reference is made to:

Links to websites regarding Itala Mela

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