Beatification Cause of Sister Bernardita de la Inmaculada Sesso Advances

Italian-born Sister Bernardita belonged to the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph of Buenos Aires.

Sister Bernardita de la Inmaculada Sesso, who died Dec. 12, 2001.
Sister Bernardita de la Inmaculada Sesso, who died Dec. 12, 2001. (photo: Courtesy photo / Hermanas Pobres Bonaerenses de San José)

VATICAN CITY — The Argentine bishops’ representative for the causes of saints, Bishop Santiago Olivera of the Military Diocese, presented in Rome Feb. 7 the collection of testimonies gathered for the beatification of Sister Bernardita de la Inmaculada Sesso, affectionately called the “mother of priests.”

Bishop Olivera explained that Sister Bernardita was Italian, but “she lived for a long time in Argentina belonging to the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph of Buenos Aires, in San Miguel, Buenos Aires province, where she maintained a great friendship with the then master of novices, the later bishop and cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio, the current Holy Father Francis.”

Since the cause for the canonization of the Servant of God was opened in Rome, the Bishop of San Miguel, Damián Gustavo Nannini, delegated the process to Bishop Olivera, who began and concluded the process with the Vicariate of Rome.

Bishop Olivera was accompanied to Rome by Sister Colomba Angelillis, representative of the Mother Delegate for Italy of the Institute of the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph of Buenos Aires, Mother Gregoria Antonia Ortiz.

Adele Sesso was born in Montella, Italy, on Oct. 15, 1918, to an impoverished family.

From a young age she felt the call to the consecrated life and wanted to join the Congregation of the Vocationist Sisters; but since one of her sisters had already entered, she could not do so.

She then got to know the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph of Buenos Aires in Rome and entered this religious institute on July 29, 1935, at the age of 17.

She made her first vows on March 19, 1938 in Rome and on Oct. 5 that year she was sent to serve in institutes in Argentina and the United States.

In each of those places, she was an example of humility, piety, industriousness, kindness, and abandonment to Divine Providence.

From her childhood she had a special affection for priests and prayed and sacrificed herself in an extraordinary way for them and the seminarians.

Sister Bernardita collaborated in the formation of future priests and religious; she encouraged them and helped them spiritually in their difficulties: she was a true “mother” for them, as they called her.

The last years of her life she suffered from a tumor in her pancreas and liver, for which she underwent several surgeries. She accepted her suffering with fortitude and serenity.

She returned to Italy, where she received frequent visits from priests and bishops expressing their gratitude.

Ten days before her death, she received Anointing of the Sick from Cardinal Bergoglio, and she died Dec. 12, 2001.

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