· Vatican City ·


Thirty years later comes Carola Susani’s debut book

Teresa’s sense of God and the Word

Minolta DSC
01 June 2024

“The day the Spirit arrived was noon. The table was set for seven”. In Il Libro di Teresa [The Book of Teresa], Carola Susani recounts the life of a lower-middle-class family, composed of the parents and five children, between the Fascist era and the dawn of the Sixties. It is a family saga in 120 pages, in which God and the Word of the Old and New Testament are called upon to interact with the human condition, with violence, pain, love, turmoil, and the repercussions of history.

Republished now by Marietti 1980, it was actually the debut novel by Carola Susani (a member of the Editorial Board of Women Church World), released in 1995 in the Mercurio series directed by Enzo Siciliano for Giunti. It is a novel in panels, a sequence of first-person narratives. Teresa, the recipient of the story, is the daughter of the youngest son, Mosé. By the time she has been born, almost everything has already happened. Aunt Ida could not meet her: she had died in a car accident, after insisting on stopping at all costs to drink a tamarind, on October 15, 1960. “The calendar marked Saint Teresa the Great. That day Teresa was baptized”, Mosè recounts. “I can’t forgive her for not wanting to postpone the appointment with death even slightly”. Because, of that appointment, Ida had been informed in the early months of 1948, “she had confided in me”.

Ida was special. It was she who had heard the Voice of the Lord when the Holy Spirit had arrived at the window of the house in the form of a dove, she who had opened to Him. She who had the strongest relationship with Christ, who had met Him once, even though “she was sparing with visions”. She who, at 14, had become a nun, intertwining the story of her vocation with that of the Country. “On April 18, 1948, it had been set near Easter. When they went to the polls, especially the wives and daughters, they saw it pulsate, and on the ballot, they voted for Him.”

However “Ida was fourteen years old, so not yet of voting age; nevertheless, she wanted to fulfill her part as well. She vowed to give herself”.

And she had her own way of praying: “Lord, sometimes I shoot at You and miss. So You remain hanging up high and I stay blameless as You wanted me to be. You should let Yourself be hit every now and then; then I could gather You up in my arms and for once balance the scales”.

Teresa’s book “is a short epic novel”, writes Chiara Valerio in the afterword. “The structure is suitable for the pages of a book but perfect for sliding onto a screen”.