Bonino, Giuseppina Gabriella, Bl.

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Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Savigliano; b. Savigliano, Piedmont, Italy, Sept. 5, 1843;d. Savona, Liguria, Italy, Feb. 8, 1906. Raised in a religious family, Bonino moved to Turin when she was 12. Her spiritual director, discerning her true vocation, encouraged her to make a temporary vow of virginity when she was 18. In 1869 she moved back to Savigliano to care for her ailing father until his death. During a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1877, in thanksgiving for a successful back surgery, she was given to understand that her vocation was to return God's gift of a good family by becoming a mother to numerous infants and children with no family. Twice she sampled the cloistered life before realizing that her service would be better undertaken in an active religious community. She founded and became the superior of the Sisters of the Holy Family, an institute dedicated to serving orphans and the elderly poor (1881). She founded four other houses before her death.

During his homily at her beatification on May 7, 1995, John Paul II proclaimed, "Her charism was family love, learned and practiced above all while living with her parents until adulthood and then by following the Lord's call in consecrated life. From the family as the domestic church to the religious community as a spiritual family: this is the summary of her humble journey, hidden but of incalculable value, that of the family, the environment of extraordinary love in ordinary things." She is one of the patronesses of families.

Feast: Feb. 8.

Bibliography: L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 19 (1995): 2, 4. g. mina, Quando l'amore chiama: una vita presente nell'oggi: Madre Giuseppina Gabriella Bonino, fondatrice delle Suore della Sacra Famiglia di Savigliano (Cavallermaggiore 1993).

[k. i. rabenstein]