from issue no. 05 - 2009

30Giorni Archive


by Stefania Falasca

The cover of the book by Stefania Falasca <I>My brother Albino. Recollections and memories of Pope Luciani’s sister</I>

The cover of the book by Stefania Falasca My brother Albino. Recollections and memories of Pope Luciani’s sister

“Great good can also be done with the pen, with the pen also...”: Nina often recalled, repeating the words of her brother Albino when, even as a young priest, he stole hours from sleep to write the articles that were asked of him. “If you knew what they cost me”, he then said to her. Antonia Luciani, younger sister of John Paul I, recounted many memories such as these. Like those we present again in this column, in the layout in which they appeared in 2003, twenty-five years after the death of the Servant of God Albino Luciani.
When in 2002 we began to record her memories in Rome, thanks to her daughter Lina and her husband Sandro, in the house where Nina often spent the winter months, we never thought they would gain such unanimous approval. Within a short span after the publication of the book, at the height of summer, hundreds of letters arrived: from cardinals and bishops of various dioceses throughout the world, from simple priests, the ordinary believers and not, so much so that a fourth reprinting was necessary.
Nina, with her customary naturalness and familiarity, had allowed us to enter, without regrets or sentimentality, into the ordinary life of a family.
And through her simplicity, the vibrancy of her talk, she brought us without self-consciousness into the heart and intelligence of Christian life, of that humilitas which is none other than the grace of feeling oneself small before God... small, so as to be always able to recognize what the Lord alone knows how to make flourish, when, where and how He wants.
Nina died on 5 June last year in Levico in the province of Trento, where she lived since 1952, bringing up her two children and then her grandson. She was preceded by a year by her other beloved brother, Berto, the teacher, who had shared many of these memories.
The funeral, in the presence of ten priests, as well as the Bishop of Belluno and the vicar general of the diocese of Trent, was celebrated in the little church of Santa Giuliana, where for as long as she was able Nina went to morning mass. During the sermon the parish priest recalled one of his own small memories. On one of those mornings, seeing her there in the church, he had said to her: “If you can, say a prayer for me too... You don’t find all that many anymore who pray for us poor priests”. And she replied: “I always pray for priests, always, as I did as a little girl with mamma... we had one at home”.
Without her company the history of 30Days would not have been the same. We are grateful to her.
The following pages go back to her childhood and take us to the beginning.

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