Sixty Years of Loving Service
Mr. James and Mrs. Fidelia Gargione from Camella, Italy had been blessed with one daughter and one son. Their beautiful daughter was born on May 19, 1927 and they named her, Luisa, in honor of St. Luis. In 1930, Luisa with her mother and father immigrated to the United States. In 1932, Mrs. Gargione and her daughter Luisa returned to Italy because of Mr. Gargione’s wish for her daughter to be educated in the Italian culture. Mr. Gargione remained in America to work and provide for the family. Just like any other girl of her age, she dreamed of the future, but did not have time to cherish her dreams. At the age of 14, her dreams were being realized when she received the call to religious life. In spite of her father being in the USA, Luisa found time to pray, attend church, and to seek guidance from God. One day, Luisa was at a youth conference and the priest, Fr. Saluti, spoke about the life of St. St. Therese of Lisieux offering herself as a missionary in the cloister. From that moment on she was touched by a deep desire to serve the Lord and his church. She decided to become a Vocationist Sister under the direction of Fr. Giovanni Galasso, a Vocationist Father who guided and helped her to grow in her spiritual life. Several times the venerable founder, Fr. Justin Maria Russolillo, who left an indelible mark on her soul, told her to wait for the return of her father to Italy and then enter the religious life. So she did. In March 1952, she went to Pianura to join the Vocationist Sisters where she was welcomed by Mother Giovanna Russolillo into the Mother House. Here she started her formation. Her family had lost a precious daughter, but the Lord and the church had gained a dedicated worker for the vineyard. Later on, she was sent to Torre del Greco for her postulancy, under the guidance of Sr. Sofia, an affectionate daughter of the Congregation. In 1953, she started her novitiate under the guidance of Sr. Maria Galasso. After two years of novitiate she went back to the mother house in Pianura where she took her vows in the presence of Blessed Justin and that was the last profession officiated by the founder. After her profession, she was assigned to stay in the Mother House as a Postulant Mistress. Then, she was sent to Airola, Benevento, as a Superior of the community and as a visiting Nurse. Sr. Luisa worked with Dr. Miguel Russolillo (Blessed Justin’s brother) in a clinic as an assistant nurse in the surgery room. In 1963, she went to Rome where she completed her nursing studies at the Child Jesus Hospital and then later at St. John’s Hospital. In 1966, she moved to the Mother House, where she worked for two years in the infirmary as well as with the postulants and the youth. It was God’s plan for Sr. Luisa to come to the United States. In 1967, Fr. Mario Muccitelli requested Mother Giovanna Russolillo to establish the sisters in Newark to help out the Vocationist Fathers in their work and apostolate. In July 1967, Sr. Luisa was one of the first groups of Vocationist Sisters to arrive in Newark during the most difficult years of Newark’s history as the Riots were taking place. Through faith and prayers, Sr. Luisa was able to overcome the hardships of the beginning. For the past thirty-seven years, Sr. Luisa’s life was spent helping the children at the Perpetual Help Nursery and working at the parish. Ever since, Sr. Luisa always has had a word of hope for every distressed soul and a smile of affection for every child. Sr. Luisa taught CCD at St. Michael’s parish for thirty years and RCIA for eight years. She was the local Superior of the community in Newark several times. In 2003, she was transferred to Florham Park to assist with the formation of the candidates to religious life during the period of their formation and in 2004 she was assigned as the novice mistress until 2009. As of today she continues to reside in Florham Park. In addition, in September 2001, she was elected Delegate of the Mother General in the United States and remained in that office until December of 2010.
THANK YOU, LORD!
Sr. Luisa’s Prayer of ThanksgivingI thank you for the gift of my life, for being born in a Catholic family and for my religious family. I give you thanks, O Lord. For the gift of baptism, for the sacraments and for the religious education, I give you thanks, O Lord. For all the graces that you bestowed upon me, for all the spiritual help that I received, I thank you, Lord. For the gift of my vocation, for our Congregation, I give you thanks, O Lord. For our Founder, Blessed Justin Maria Russolillo and his sister Mother Giovanna, and for all who helped me, I give you thanks, O Lord. Thank you for my 60th years of religious life, for all the graces I received. Thank you for the sufferings and everything that had afflicted me. Everything has been meaningful to me and to my growth in the past, present and in the future. Thank you, Lord, for all that I have learned through the joyful and sorrowful events of life. Bless all those who helped me to grow in love. I ask you to bless this day which is meaningful to me and my vocation. I magnify you, Lord for the inner strength you have given me and enriched my life. For the enthusiasm, the missionary spirit and for all the blessings you have bestowed on me throughout the years. Lord, you know myself better than I do. With grateful heart, I entrust to you all those who have helped me. I ask you to give them joy and reward for their good deeds. I pray that others, especially those whom I care about that their lives will be blessed. Thank you, Lord for the wondrous work that you have accomplished in Mary’s life, in all the saints and for the gifts and talents that you have given me. With humility, I accept to be loved by you, Lord. I trust in your love. I am aware of your love for me and I ask you to bless my soul and all my being. O Lord, my life is in your hands; forgive my failures in not loving you with all my heart, with all my strength and my neighbor as myself. Give me a forgiving heart able to bring peace to all. I thank you, Lord, for my parents and grandparents who taught me to have faith in you. I thank you for them and I ask you to bless them. I ask your recollection and forgiveness for those who are in conflict with others. I accept you in my innermost heart. I accept your love. Lord, send me your Holy Spirit to teach me how to be merciful as you are merciful. Have mercy on me according to the greatness of your mercy, and strengthen my relationship with you. Give me the will to follow you wherever you want to lead me so that I may act wisely in doing God’s will, and live according to it as I turn toward the fullness of God’s reign. Amen. God’s kingdom come! God’s will be done! ………………Sr. Luisa Gargione of the Vocationist Sisters