São Paulo (Agenzia Fides) - Fr. Joseph Marchetti, scalabrinian, co-founder of the Scalabrinian Missionary Sisters, left Italy to go to Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century, to directly help thousands of emigrants who came from his country, especially minors, who went to Latin America to look for new hopes of life. He arrived in Brazil in the midst of the migratory flow of Italians: in the state of São Paulo at that time at least 800 thousand lived there. There he created an orphanage for boys and one for girls, as well as a hospital for Italians. There were three service structures but not only: within the service structures education and formation were of crucial importance.
"He had courage, a creative gift, a capacity to feel empathy for others and wanted to do well. His example to look at every man, woman, and every child who emigrates with confidence is alive and current", said Sr. Etra Modica, vicar general of the Scalabrinians, a congregation that since its foundation deals with migrants, during a meeting held in Lucca on the eve of World Mission Day. For Sister Etra "Father Marchetti is a demonstration of a Church at the service for migrants and with migrants, as witnessed today by their daily commitment to their support".
The symposium on venerable Joseph Marchetti (1869-1896), native of Camaiore (Lucca) and died in Sao Paulo, considered "father of migrant children" and his experience of reception linked to integration policies, was organized by the Postulator General of Scalabrinian missionaries, Scalabrinian missionary nuns, and the Archdiocese of Lucca.
In the debate, according to the note sent to Agenzia Fides, the attention was focused on some pedagogical aspects related to emigrant children.
"The males were offered the teaching of the first letters, the arts and offices according to their character", explains Sister Leocadia Mezzomo, a postulator of the cause of canonization of Father Joseph’s sister, the Blessed Mother Assunta Marchetti. There they could learn various jobs: typographer, carpenter, blacksmith, tailor, shoemaker, baker, etc. As far as the female section is concerned, the program provided for accurate preparation for family life. The young girls learned how to cook, sew, and to be good mothers, but they could also become nurses, professors, missionaries ... Father Marchetti was one of those men who in the face of a problem tried to find a solution".
A reception home in San Pietro in Vico, in the province of Lucca, which currently hosts 16 youngsters who come from Africa and South East Asia was dedicated to Father Marchetti. Father Joseph Marchetti, together with his sister Mother Assunta, beatified in Brazil in 2014 (see Fides 27/10/2014), were Lucchesi, and devoted their lives to assisting migrants: "Theirs was a mature reception, able to go beyond cultures", emphasized the Archbishop of Lucca, Mgr. Italo Castellani. "That same story is being repeated today. Discovering the story of the Marchetti siblings means to demonstrate how in a global world, events are repeated cyclically but the key to everything is, in the end, two verbs: to welcome and to integrate", commented Sr. Etra Modica. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 24/10/2017)