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Caterina Cittadini

She was born in Bergamo in 1801 to parents who had recently immigrated from Villa d’Almè, a town in the province, hoping for better economic accommodation.

By the age of seven his two parents had already died and remained alone with his little sister Giuditta for five years. The two sisters were admitted to the Conventino orphanage in Bergamo, up to the age of majority and in that Institute Caterina Cittadini graduated as a teacher in 1823. She was invited by two cousin priests, Giovanni and Antonio Cittadini, to move with them to the town of Calolziocorte and in the same year she began teaching in the elementary school of the nearby village of Somasca di Vercurago, well known for the sanctuary of S. Girolamo Emiliani and for the Motherhouse of the Somaschi.

Opening of the school

Christian formation profoundly marks their existence which will give a specific orientation to their mission. Assisted by her sister Giuditta, she opened a free school in Somasca for the poorest girls who could not attend the state school, then joined by a boarding school and an orphanage. Some of her former students stayed with her to devote themselves to the education of poor girls and to teach catechism, making available their spiritual wealth, their physical energies, their apostolate anxiety. The new Institute of the Ursulines of Somasca was founded by this group of young teachers. At the age of 37, his sister Giuditta died, his most valid support. Caterina writes the Constitutions of the new Institute and presents them to the bishop of Bergamo in the years 1854-55.

A profoundly humble and simple soul, she turned out to be a wise and enlightened educator, re-evaluating in a modern and feminine key, the typically Lombard institution of the parish festive oratory, following the example of St. Charles Borromeo and of s. Girolamo Emiliani. She was beatified April 29, 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

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