Saturday, May 12, 2012

Don Orione Remembering his Mother

In a letter to his religious (7th February 1923), St. Luigi Orione remembered the love of his mother, her work, her sacrifices and her teaching.    

“… My mother dressed me, her fourth son, in the clothes of my eldest brother who is 13 years older than me, and the poor woman had already dressed three others in those clothes before me; but she left us a little money which, in part, went to the first orphans of Divine Providence, and she brought us up well, respected in the sight of the world as they say: she was able to join all the rags together and make clothes out of them, and the family triumphed in honest and discreet poverty.  One of my sisters-in-law, who has no children, came to see me: she has a pension paid to my brother, an ex-railway man, she has her own house, she has two vineyards; and yet they are in poverty!  What does this mean?

It means that that poor old countrywoman, my mother, got up at 3 in the morning to set to work, and she seemed like a spindle in motion, and she always worked and busied herself and did a woman's work and, with her sons, even had to act as a man, because our father was far away, working at Monferrato: she wielded the sickle to make hay, and sharpened it herself, without taking it to the knife-grinder; she made cloth with hemp spun by herself; and my brothers used up so many sheets, so much good linen - my poor mother!  She even looked after the broken knives, and this has been my heritage.  She did not hurry off to buy, unless she was absolutely obliged to; and when she died, we put her wedding dress on her again, 51 years after her wedding: she had had it dyed black, and she still looked beautiful, and that was her best dress!

Do you see, my dear sons, how our holy and beloved old people got by? And she always told me the story of how Jesus got down from a horse to pick up a little piece of bread. It is a story that I found later on in an apocryphal Gospel: but who can say that it might not be true?  It is certainly very significant!  My dear people, let us imitate our old folk and our Saints!...”

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