Il-Qaddejja t’Alla, Ineż Casolani


Riflessjoni, Lulju 2020

Il-qdusija fi ħdan il-Knisja għandha rwol importanti. Kif ifakkarna tajjeb il-Papa Franġisku fl-Eżortazzjoni Appostolika Gaudete et Exsultate, “sa mill-ewwel paġni tal-Bibbja nsibu, b’ħafna modi, is-sejħa għall-qdusija.” U din hi propju l-milja li għaliha l-Mulej issejħilna.

inez_casolaniForsi ħafna minnha għandna idea tal-qdusija msawwra mill-ikonografija li naraw fil-knejjes tagħna; ta’ qaddisin bir-raġġiera, ta’ żwiġijiet mistiċi u esperjenzi mistiċi. Iżda hemm ukoll qdusija li  timmanifesta ruħha fil-ħajja sempliċi ta’ kuljum. Kif ifakkar tajjeb il-Papa Franġisku:

“Nieħu gost inħares lejn il-qdusija fil-poplu ta’ Alla mimli sabar: fil-ġenituri li jrabbu lil uliedhom b’tant imħabba, fl-irġiel u fin-nisa li jistinkaw biex iġibu l-ħobż id-dar, fil-morda, fir-reliġjużi anzjani li jibqgħu bit-tbissima fuq wiċċhom. F’din il-perseveranza li biha jibqgħu mexjin jum wara l-ieħor nilmaħ il-qdusija tal-Knisja militanti. Din ħafna drabi hi l-qdusija ‘tal-bieb ta’ maġenbna’, ta’ dawk li jgħixu qrib tagħna u huma mera tal-preżenza ta’ Alla, jew, biex ninqdew b’espressjoni oħra, tal-‘klassi medja tal-qdusija’.”

Ikompli jikteb il-Papa: “Ħafna drabi tiġina t-tentazzjoni naħsbu li l-qdusija hi riservata għal dawk li għandhom il-possibbiltà li jżommu ’l bogħod mit-taħbit ta’ kuljum, biex jiddedikaw ħafna ħin għat-talb. Mhuwiex hekk. Ilkoll aħna msejħin inkunu qaddisin billi ngħixu bi mħabba u noffru x-xhieda tagħna fil-ħidmiet ta’ kuljum, kull fejn inkunu.”

Hija din it-tip ta’ xhieda li offrew il-Qaddejja t’Alla Henry u Ineż Casolani tul ħajjithom. Din il-koppja, li ingħaqdet fis-Sagrament taż-Żwieġ f’April tal-1944, għexet ħajja ordinarja ħafna; ħajja li ħafna minnha jistgħu jidentifikaw magħha – rutina ta’ xogħol, qadi, trobbija ta’ familja, u t-taħbit ta’ kuljum. Imma minħabba li għexu din il-ħajja ordinarja b’imħabba kbira, b’fedeltà lejn il-Vanġelu, u b’fidi impressjonanti, kienu kapaċi jgħixu ħajja b’virtuwijiet straordinarji.

Fit-13 ta’ Lulju tal-1992, Ineż Casolani ħalliet din id-dinja. L-aħħar kitba fid-djarju tagħha tgħid hekk: “I take record of God… in Thee I have had my earthly joy.” Hija kitba li hi koerenti mal-ħajja li għexet il-Qaddeja t’Alla Ineż Casolani.

Bint Giovanni Felice Vassallo u Giuseppina née Portelli, Ineż twieldet fil-11 ta’ Ottubru tal-1915 f’Bormla. Minn ċkunita, Ineż kienet persuna ta’ fidi kbira li tħobb il-familja u t-tagħlim. Studjat fin-Normal School fejn tħarġet bħala għalliema. Minkejja dan, matul it-Tieni Gwerra Dinija kienet taħdem mas-Servizzi Ingliżi biex tkun tista tgħin il-familja tagħha finanzjarjament. Dan kien importanti anki peress li omm Ineż romlot fl-1937, wara l-mewt ta’ Giovanni fl-età ta’ 52 sena.

Il-vokazzjoni ta’ għalliema qatt ma’ telqet lil Ineż; filfatt, għalkemm waqfet taħdem wara ż-żwieġ, hija baqgħet tagħti lezzjonijiet tal-privat b’xejn lit-tfal li kellhom bżonn l-għajnuna. Ma’ kienitx biss tiffoka fuq l-aspett akkademiku. Ineż ta’ spiss kienet tagħtihom x’jieklu u tara li jinġabru fit-talb.

Id-dar tal-Qaddeja t’Alla Henry u Ineż Casolani kienet post akkoljenti mimli mħabba. Kienet f’dan l-ambjent ta’ imħabba, ġabra u fidi li nibtet il-vokazzjoni ta’ binthom, Sr Cecilia Casolani. Ineż kienet tieħu ħsieb din id-dar bl-akbar għożża – anki għax kienet mogħnija b’bosta talenti. Kienet ukoll tieħu sehem attiv fl-attivitajiet tal-Paroċċa tal-Immakulata Kunċizzjoni tal-Ħamrun fejn kienu jgħixu. Għall-istess paroċċa, kienet tikteb bosta artikli ta’ natura spiritwali u reliġjuża li jixhdu l-fidi u l-prudenza tagħha.

Il-Qaddeja t’Alla Ineż Casolani, għexet din il-ħajja u offriet dawn id-doni fl-ispirtu tal-Beatitudnijiet; kienet tħenn u ta’ qalb ħelwa, permezz tal-pariri tagħha kienet tipprova ġġib il-paċi u kienet tfittex li tgħix ħajjitha f’dan l-ispirtu. U f’dan l-ispirtu, hija irnexxilha tara u taqdi l-Imgħallem, li kif iffakkarna l-Papa Franġisku, “aħna msejħin nirriflettu fil-ħajja tagħna ta’ kuljum.”

Kitba ta’ André P. DeBattista


July 2020

Reflection

 The Servant of God, Ineż Casolani

André P. DeBattista

 

The Communion of Saint is a central tenet of the Catholic faith. As Pope Frances reminds us in the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, “The call to holiness is present in various ways from the very first pages of the Bible.” This is the fullness of life to which we are all called.

For decades, our idea of sanctity was shaped by religious iconography, often characterised by saints in halos and diadems, mystical marriages and deep mystical experiences. However, there is another aspect of sanctity which manifests itself in daily life. Pope Francis reminds us of this aspect:

“I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them ‘the middle class of holiness’.”

The Pope adds: “We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.”

This was the witness offered to the Church by the Servants of God, Henry and Inez Casolani. This couple, joined together in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in April 1944, led a very ordinary life; a life which many can identify with. Their life was characterised by a familiar routine of work, errands, and family life. It was occasionally punctured with the many challenges which crop up from time to time. However, since they lived this ordinary life with great love, faith and trust in the Word of God, they managed to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.

On the 13 July 1992, Inez Casolani died in her sleep. Her last diary entry simple states: “I take record of God… In Thee I have had my earthly joy.” It is a short statement which succinctly sums up the life of the Servant of God, Inez Casolani.

The daughter of Giovanni Felice Vassallo and Giuseppina nee Portelli, Inez was born on the 11 October 1915 in Cospicua, Malta. From a young age, Inez was a person of great faith who demonstrated great love for her family and for learning. She studied at the Normal School where she trained as a teacher. Despite this, she worked with the British Forces in Malta during the Second World War in order to provide for her family. This shift was necessary since her mother was widowed in 1937, after Giovanni Felice died aged 52.

However, her teaching vocation never left her. Although she stopped working after she married Henry, she continued to give private tuition lessons free of charge to children who needed extra help. She went beyond the academic aspect; Inez often gave these children something to eat whilst making sure they spent some time in prayer.

The home of the Servants of God Henry and Inez Casolani was a welcoming place full of love and faith. This was the environment which shaped the vocation of their daughter, Sr Cecilia Casolani of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. Inez put her many talents to good use both in her household and in the wider community, especially in her home parish of Our Lady Immaculate in Hamrun. For many years, she wrote articles of a spiritual and religious nature for the parish newsletter. These articles often showcase her faith, sensitivity and prudence on all matters.

The Servant of God Inez Casolani lived her life and offered her talents in the spirit of the Beatitudes; she showed mercy, she was pure in heart, and through her words of advice she always tried to mediate and bring peace. As Pope Francis reminds us, “in the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives.” This was a truth Inez Casolani recognised and tried to live.

By André P. DeBattista

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Joe Farrugia

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