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“Jealousy does not make love dignified, rather it humiliates and perverts it”. Such is what the Patriarch of Venice, Penelope, wrote in March of 1972. It is a passage from one of the forty letters that Albino Luciani addressed to celebrated figures of history and myth in a column kept for four years on the “Messenger of Saint Anthony” and now published in “Illustrissimi, Lettere ai grandi del passato” (“The Most Notable, Letters to the Great Ones of the Past”) (Messaggero Padova Edition, 2012). Among the recipients are four women with whom Luciani has a dialogue of familiarity and about modern subjects. Luciani vents with Empress Maria Theresa about overcoming limits, not only in dress and behavior, but also “singing, writing and photography”. He also addresses St. Theresa of Avila, not the Bernini one but “the practical Theresa” that experienced our difficulties and knew “how to laugh and make others laugh”. And he renames St. Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography as “The Story of a Steel Bar” (which she called “The Story of a Soul”). Notable women for a future notable pope, still to be discovered.
St. Peter’s Square
Aug. 17, 2019
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