Without a doubt the most important but least known by
the Morronesi. He was born in Morrone (then called Morrono) in 1536. A famous
lawyer, he practiced at the Regia Udienza in Lucera. He wrote several works;
the most important are: Paxis civilis regii consilii et magnae curiae vicariae,
>proxis fidjussoria e proxis civilis.
priest and Latin scholar
in 1870 he published a scientific text on various diseases caused
by ant worms in cereal plants.
provincial councilor in 1862
a holder of degrees in both philosophy and pedagogy,
he was an educational director, a writer and also a great enthusiast of
Morronese History. He was a winner of many literature competitions for non-fiction,
narrative, theater, philosophy and pedagogy. He was also the editor-in-chief
of the international periodical of culture called “Pungolo Verde”.
born in Morrone in 1898, artillery major, died in action in el-Mehili
in North Africa. For this heroic act he was decorated with the gold medal
of military courage.
born in Morrone in 1920, elementary school teacher and
musical composer of more than 300 Italian songs in Napoletano and Molisano
dialect. His most famous song “il passerotto” (lu passariell), won 3rd place
at San Remo in 1953; it was sung by Carla Boni. A multifaceted artist, he
was also a painter.
Sister Angela Antonelli was born in Morrone del Sannio
(Campobasso) on November 14th, 1925. Once she obtained her primary school
teaching certification at the Gelasio Gaetani Institute in Rome, she entered
into the congregation of the nuns of San Giovanni Battista (Casale Pio V
Rome). In her novitiate year she already offered herself as a volunteer
in Africa and immediately after taking her religious vows, she left for
Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) along with Sister Cornelia Morrone, another molisana from the province of Campobasso. It was the 22nd of May, 1948.
After a very long and adventurous flight, on the 14th
of June, 1948, the young missionaries reached the little community of Saint
Joseph in the Rhodesian forest. Sister Cornelia, a professional nurse, opened
the doctor’s office in a hut and the teacher, Sister Angela, improvised
and taught outdoors giving sewing lessons, hygiene lessons, infant care
classes to the women. Meanwhile she perfected her knowledge of the local
language, Chibemba, as well as English, the official language.
Neighboring villages heard of the Sisters’ presence through
the grapevine and the ill that came to visit them was always more numerous.
At times compresses and clean water were all that was needed to cure certain
infections, such as ones in the eyes, and rumors were abound that the two
white women were wonders…with much marvel and apprehension of the witchdoctor.
Today the hut of Sister Cornelia is a big rural hospital.
Unfortunately, this marvelous woman is no longer with us to bear witness
to her extraordinary missionary life.
With the arrival of other Italian and American nuns the
activities extended to Kitwe, Chingola and Solwezi, where Sister Angela
had set into motion a cooking course in the shade of a banana tree. Today
that initiative has become “Homecraft College”, the most prestigious school
of Economic Domesticity that there is in Zambia, and one that has certified
hundreds of teachers.
Sister Angela had quickly learned to live alongside the
incredible suffering of the African people, relieved only at times by the
uncontaminated beauty of that cruel land and its magical forests. It is
impossible to describe the colors and voices of Africa, the rain season,
the grazing animals that are everywhere, and the terrifying force of Victoria
Falls, a gift from the great Zambesi River.
Many times at the break of day fresh lion footprints
were around the Sister’s hut.
Scholars were already arriving after having walked for
hours in the forest. The sick and the women with children wait in line for
vaccinations. Lepers wait in their huts for the arrival of the Sister that,
punctually and with patience, begins the vaccinations wrapped in a citenga
(the traditional clothing that the Zambian women wear) over her white clothing.
She also wears her old comfortable shows so that she can pedal hurriedly;
travels by bicycle. She brought food and medicine; she
washed the wounds of lepers and helped women watch their children. She attentively
listened to every request, always smiling.
Becoming soon a superior, Sister Angela tried to realize
a dream that she had in her heart since the first day of the mission: THE
INSTRUCTION AND EMANCIPATION OF THE ZAMBIAN WOMAN.
A missionary wrote: “The women in Africa are a gigantic
resource. They have the weight of life on their shoulders: they feed hungry
mouths, they raise children, they look after the elders, and they care for
the wounded, whether the wounds are from war or from diseases. They do as
much as they can without the sufficient means…only education gives dignity
to a woman, it permits her to become a true fountain of development”.
In 1960 Mother Angela founded a group of Zambian Sister’s,
while the activity centers, born from her dream of solidarity, increased
thanks to the generosity of many. Today the Sister’s work in schools, social
organizations, and humanitarian organizations.
In 1964 Northern Rhodesia was granted independence from
England, changing its name to Zambia. This state is still one of the poorest
countries in Africa and devastated by AIDS. AIDS has caused more victims
in Zambia than any war, and has left around half a million children orphaned.
These poor people arrive by the thousands everyday from the Congo, Angola,
Zaire, and also from other war-torn countries.
In this eternal emergency the missionaries do all they
can for everybody…
October 7th 2000, Sister Floriana Tirelli, a young nurse
and teacher, was assaulted and killed in the Kitwe forest by a group of
mercenaries (perhaps Congolese) that also stole the ambulance, the only
one in the area. That night children, lepers, and her fellow sisters were
all very nervous. She was the “smile” of the mission and she had a dream,
the same one as Mother Angela: solidarity. From that dream there grew 15
1 ST. JOSEPH MISSION: rural hospital, elementary school,
upper school for deaf-mutes (120 alumni), sewing school and parish organizations
2.KITWE MWINILUNGA: nursery school, primary school, upper
school, parish organizations, mess hall for the street kids in collaboration
with the Anglican Church
3. KITWE ST. MARTIN: orphanage for abandoned newborns
or children orphans by a deceased mother
4. CHINGOLA: nursery school, primary school, upper school,
5. ITIMPI: novitiates (living quarters assigned to religious
novices), family assistance for the terminally ill from AIDS, parish organizations
6. NDOLA: "Child to child program". Childcare for children
that don’t have access to governmental schools with rehabilitation facilities.
The Sister’s carry out rehabilitation programs and act as nutritionists.
There is a clinic for victims with AIDS
7. ST. FRANCIS MISSION: Assists children of lepers, rural
hospital, maternity center, school of economic domesticity with biennial
courses for girls that otherwise cannot continue school
8. SOLWEZI city: home and rehabilitation center for disabled
9. SOLWEZI city: social and parish organizations, sewing
school for women
10. MWINILUNGA: nursery school and sewing school for
11. MWINILUNGA LWUAWU MISSION: Elementary school and
upper school, rural hospital and maternity center.
12. LUSAKA: nursery school, parish organizations
13. CHIPATA: home and rehabilitation center for disabled
children, teaching in the elementary schools
14. MALAWI: nursery school, elementary school, social
and charitable organizations
15. SOUTH AFRICA: home for abandoned children, assistance
to physically and mentally disabled children
In spite of her old age, Mother Angela continues to be
both a good example and a source of sweetness for her fellow sisters and
volunteers that work alongside her while confronting innumerous obstacles.
In difficult moments she repeats that “one needs to always
hope in the Divine Providence, working…”
“…like that time in the forest when they brought me a
premature baby. The mother had died at birth. The infant had just started
to breathe…an incubator was necessary. In our hut there was a clean box
(a shoebox): I filled it with some cotton wool and I made a crib out of
Today that baby is a beautiful woman and a well-known
professional. At the 50th anniversary celebration of the religious life
of Mother Angela at Kitwe (March 3rd, 1997) MWABOMBENI MUKWAI hugged her
happily saying: “Mother is truly a mother to all of us”.
On the same day a fellow Sister said of Mother Angela:
“…During all of this time she has always served everybody
with so much love, humility and solidarity. She is loved for her affection,
and for her humble, joyous, and motherly character. Her great spirit of
sacrifice, her deep religious convictions, her silent dedication to work,
and her readiness to always listen to everybody has made her precious to
every Sister in the Battistina Family, among which there are many that have
been guided by her not just in religious teachings, but also ones that have
been guided in various other professional sectors”.
On different occasions Mother Angela was a spokeswoman
for Zambia in International Assemblies in both the United States of America
and Italy. On the 24th of October 1983, she was decorated by the President
of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. D. Kenneth Kaunda, the Medal of Order for
Distinct Service for “the human promotion of the Zambian woman”.
Today Sister Angela lives and works in the mission of
Whoever wants to send a donation can write to:
Sister Angela Antonelli, ST. JOHN'S CONVENT P.O. BOX
32457 LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, C. AFRICA.