Celebriamo la vita vissuta

Santa Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello Religiosa – 21 marzo

Santa Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello Religiosa

21 marzo

Langasco, Genova, 2 ottobre 1791 – Ronco Scrivia, Genova, 21 marzo 1858

Figlia di contadini, nacque il 2 ottobre 1791, nell’entroterra genovese. Nel 1804 si trasferì a Pavia. Pur sentendosi votata alla vita religiosa accettò, per esigenze familiari, di sposare Giovan Battista Frassinello, operaio e fervente cristiano, originario di Ronco Scrivia. Non ebbero figli. Allora Benedetta, con il consenso del marito, cercò di realizzare il desiderio di consacrarsi interamente a Dio. Accolta dalle suore Orsoline di Caprioglio, nel Bresciano, dovette lasciare per motivi di salute. Rifugiatasi nella preghiera, ebbe la visione di san Girolamo Emiliani che la guarì. Mentre il marito entrò come fratello laico tra i Somaschi, lei avviò un’opera di assistenza per le fanciulle povere. Nel 1827 fondò a Pavia la prima scuola popolare. Dalle ragazze che la frequentavano prese avvio la Congregazione delle Suore di Nostra Signora delle Provvidenza. Dodici anni dopo a Ronco Scrivia nascerà la Casa della Provvidenza. Morì a Ronco Scrivia il 21 marzo 1858. È stata canonizzata da Giovanni Paolo II il 19 maggio 2002. (Avvenire)

Etimologia: Benedetta = che augura il bene, dal latino

Martirologio Romano: A Ronco Scrivia in Liguria, santa Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello, che spontaneamente rinunciò insieme al marito alla vita coniugale e fondò l’Istituto delle Suore Benedettine della Provvidenza per la formazione cristiana delle giovani povere e abbandonate.

Benedetta Cambiagio nacque il 2 ottobre 1791 nell’entroterra genovese in una famiglia di contadini, ultima di sette fratelli. Quando nel 1804 una folta colonia di contadini si spostarono verso Pavia, anche la sua famiglia si aggregò ad essi.

Nella nuova residenza trascorsero gli anni e Benedetta ormai adulta, pur sentendosi votata per la vita religiosa, si indirizzò verso il matrimonio per esigenze familiari. Giunta ai 25 anni, si unì in matrimonio con Giovan Battista Frassinello, originario di Ronco Scrivia, operaio emigrato anch’egli a Pavia, fervente cristiano.

Purtroppo dalla loro unione non nacquero figli, allora Benedetta con il consenso del marito, cercò di realizzare il sogno della sua gioventù, quello di dedicarsi alla vita consacrata; dopo un fallito tentativo con le cappuccine di Genova, venne accolta dalle suore Orsoline di Capriolo in provincia di Brescia, ma dovette lasciare dopo pochi mesi a causa della salute malferma.

Rifugiatosi nella preghiera, ebbe la visione di s. Girolamo Emiliani il quale miracolosamente la guarì. Il marito entrò come fratello laico tra i somaschi e lei prese a mendicare casa per casa dando così inizio ad un’opera di assistenza per la fanciulle povere e abbandonate.

Nel 1827 fondava a Pavia la prima scuola popolare della città; quattro anni dopo le fanciulle superavano il centinaio e altre persone di buona volontà le si affiancarono per aiutarla nello scopo. Esse costituirono il primo gruppo della nascente Congregazione delle Suore di Nostra Signora della Provvidenza, che Benedetta fondò in quel periodo.

Trascorsero dodici anni di intenso e fruttuoso lavoro ma gli anticlericali locali presero ad osteggiarla furiosamente, al punto che la fondatrice dovette lasciare Pavia e cercare un nuovo posto e insieme a tre suore aprì a Ronco Scrivia (città natale di suo marito) una scuola, con l’accoglienza anche di ragazze benestanti e altre opere di carità. Fu chiamata “Casa della Provvidenza” ed è attualmente la casa madre della Comunità.

Le sue suore furono chiamate dal popolo ‘benedettine’ facendo riferimento al nome della fondatrice.

Morì a Ronco Scrivia il 21 marzo 1858 e sepolta nel cimitero del paese, durante la seconda guerra mondiale nel 1944, un furioso bombardamento alleato sconvolse il piccolo cimitero e le sue reliquie furono disperse.

Le sue suore tornarono a Pavia più di un secolo dopo, nel 1961, nell’Istituto “Benedetta Cambiagio”.

Beatificata da papa Giovanni Paolo II il 10 maggio 1987, è stata poi elevata agli onori degli altari come santa il 19 maggio 2002 dallo stesso pontefice.

Elevato esempio di sana vita coniugale, impregnata di virtù cristiana reciproca dei due coniugi.


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