Mother Marinella Castagno, FMA
(ANS – Nizza Monferrato) – Mother Marinella Castagno, seventh successor of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello as Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters), passed away at 6:10 p.m. on February 5 at Nizza Monferrato, Italy.
As soon as he heard the news, Fr. Adriano Bregolin, vicar general of the Salesians, sent a message of condolence to Mother Yvonne Reungoat and her general council. The vicar general is the liaison between the Rector Major and all the other groups that make up the Salesian Family.
Fr. Bregolin wrote: “Mother Marinella, as Superior General, lived through a very important apostolic time both from the Church's point of view, in the busy and fruitful post-conciliar period, when she took part in two synods of Bishops, but also from a historical and political perspective given the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989; she opened new presences and apostolic enterprises in Eastern Europe.
During her two terms as superior she had the joy of seeing the beatification of Laura Vicuña and Mother Madeleine Morano.
These were important and powerful events within the framework of her active daily life, including much sacrifice, in the animation and government of the FMA Institute.
We were impressed by her enormous apostolic activity over her years as Mother General, preaching retreats to her sisters, accompanying formation courses, her closeness to the younger sisters preparing for perpetual profession at the mother house in Mornese.
You knew her much better: and therefore have even more reason to praise God for her long and fruitful life and for what she gave to the Institute.
We look at this moment in a Christian spirit, strong in our faith in the resurrection of Jesus and certain that he is sharing with Sr. Marinella and each one of us his eternal life in Paradise.
We feel close to you, Mother, and dear sisters in the council, in affection and prayer in suffrage for Sr. Marinella's soul and a prayer of consolation for those who knew and loved her.”
Born May 21, 1921, at Bagnolo Piemonte, Italy, Mother Marinella studied with the Salesian Sisters at Giaveno and Turin. In 1946, at 24 years of age, she was accepted as a postulant. She was a novice in Turin, where she made her first vows as a Salesian sister on August 5, 1948. She worked in Turin for 18 years as assistant, teacher, and school counselor.
From 1965 to 1971 she was superior at the provincial house in Milan. In 1973 Mother Castagno was called to replace Mother Elba Bonomi as a general councilor, and in the 1975 general chapter was officially elected as councilor for youth ministry, a role in which she was reconfirmed in 1981 along with responsibility for past pupils. At the 1984 general chapter, after the death of Mother Rosetta Marchese, she was elected Superior General, then re-elected at the 19th General Chapter in 1990. She stepped down in 1996 after her second term.