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Mother Giovanna Alberoni

Mother Giovanna Alberoni, is blessed with enthusiastic approach to life, sunshine smile, goodness, kindness, deep faith, understanding and optimism. She is generous in going out of her way to help others and is exemplary in living out her vocation as an enthusiastic follower of Christ.

Giovanna was born on 1st October 1926, in a little, calm, homely suburb of Piacenza in Northern Italy, as the second of the three girls in a lovely, united family of ordinary working class people.

Her first step in the way of becoming a missionary was when she completed her teacher’s training and joined the convent on 16th January 1946. In spite of her pleas to be sent to the Indian Mission which had been opened in 1934, she was asked to have patience. The Lord accepted her earnest desire while she was still a novice. She was chosen to be one of the next group who would leave for the missions. The Lord gave her a surprise gift on her profession day on 18th September 1948 – her visa for India.

She set out for her mission adventure on 4th November 1948, at the age of 22, along with three others. Young and full of enthusiasm, she embraced her new life and its challenges bravely.  With her characteristic optimism, backed by deep faith and confidence in God, she surpassed many hurdles and difficulties which were inevitable.

In 1949, she was sent to St. Agnes College, Mangalore, to pursue the two year Intermediate Course, since her teacher’s diploma and Lyceum certificate were not recognised in India. She completed the Course with a First Class and four Distinctions while learning and excelling in the English language.

During those days the Congregation intended branching out into the ministry of healing besides that of education. It was the desire of the superiors that she becomes a doctor.

Prior to her Medical Studies, in 1952, she went to Holy Cross College, Trichy to do her B.Sc studies. But at the end of her first year most unexpectedly came the summons to attend Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi to start her MBBS studies as a foreign student. She made lot of friends and appreciated immensely the warm sense of hospitality and friendliness of the people.

In 1958, at the Graduation Ceremony she was given the award for being the most sympathetic medical student towards the patients. It was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister who handed over the award to her.

At the end of 1959, after 11 years she returned to her home town Italy. Her family, friends and acquaintances welcomed her with a joy that knew no bounds!

On 4th January 1960, her beloved father went to his eternal abode at the age of 64, due to cancer. He died in her arms on the way to the hospital.

After a stay of eight months she was back in India to continue her mission in the ministry of healing.

In 1961, she was placed in-charge of the new hospital at Kanpur, U.P – the first hospital of the Ursulines which was inaugurated on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

She was called to the South India, in 1965, to work in Nirmala Hospital, Calicut, where she was privileged to work at the side of good doctors and brilliant surgeons .

Mother Giovanna in 1970, offered herself to go to the refugee camps in West Bengal where millions of refugees from Pakistan were huddled in make-shift camps. She answered the appeal from the Catholic Hospital Association that requested volunteers.

Her eight and a half years stay in Calicut, ended in August 1974, at her transfer to the Good Shepherd Hospital, Vythiri, in Wynad District.

In January 1978, she was transferred to Bandra, Mumbai to be in-charge of the small Holy Family Hospital which was handed over to the Ursulines by the Medical Mission Sisters. The hospital was blessed and inaugurated on 11th February. It is no exaggeration to say that Mother Giovanna by her charming personality and winning ways has secured the full cooperation of the people of Mumbai to extend the small hospital with many facilities.

In 1985, she took charge of the Indian Mission, becoming its first Provincial Superior. The Congregation was divided into three provinces in the year 1988, for better administration. She was appointed as the Provincial Superior of the Central Province with its seat in Bangalore.

The General Chapter in the year 1997, elected her as Superior General of the Congregation. She was in Rome at the Generalate for six years. During her tenure our Foundress Brigida Morello was beatified on 15th March 1998, and the African Mission was opened in the year 2001.

Mother Giovanna with her exuberance and vitality, being docile to the Will of God exercised her authority as service. She offered vision, energy, challenge and courage during her years of administration as a leader.

After completing her noble service as leader, she returned back to the ministry of healing in Holy Family Hospital Bandra, Mumbai.

Mother Giovanna is a person industrious and creative. She is a wizard with the needle and thread continually creating neatly-made items for hundred various needs, especially altar-linen and useful things for new convents to be opened in various parts of India and Africa!

She does not spend a single idle moment. She is active and alert with a lively interest in persons and events. She is blessed with true wisdom.

Wherever she is, whatever she does, she gives the best of herself!!!