Ritanna Armeni, Il secondo piano [The Second Floor], Ponte delle Grazie, 2023
Finally, some justice has taken place for the many sisters who with courage and determination opened their convents’ doors to the thousands of Jews in Rome who sought salvation from the exterminating madness of Hitler and his SS. With gratitude to Ritanna Armeni, one of the many episodes of hospitality by the sisters has been reconstructed. This was a gesture that could even cost them their lives. The Franciscan Sisters of Mercy on the Via Salaria clandestinely hosted Jewish families on the second floor of the convent. Bad luck would have it that the Germans also chose some of the guest quarters on the ground floor for their infirmary. In the middle, between predators and victims, were they, the nuns, who took in those desperate people without even knowing what Pius XII had decided to do following the rounding up of the Roman ghetto October 16, 1943.
Too little has been said about the sisters incredible action protecting and saving thousands of our elder brothers. This is why I thank Ritanna Armeni for having skillfully brought out the faith, the firmness, the ability of these religious women who until the day before were only used to dealing with the little big problems of a female convent life.