Pontifical Secret Ferruzzi’s Madonnina
Title: Madonna of the Streets
Author: Jacqueline Galloway
Publisher: Ray of Hope Magazine via eCatholic2000 website
Date: 07 AUG 2013
The painting we recognize as “The Madonna Of The Streets”, by Roberto Ferruzzi was first exhibited in the Italian artist’s hometown of Venice in 1897. This lovely portrait which adorns many homes and we so aptly assume is the artist’s rendition of the Blessed Mother is in fact just not so. For in the recent search by Sister Angela Marie Bovo (a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet) for her ancestral roots, a most remarkable story was uncovered.
Sister Angela Marie was born in Oakland California in 1920 and Christened Mary. Like many Californians, she is first generation born in the states. Her mother, Angela Cian was married in Venice, Italy to Antonio Bovo and they both moved to the United States in 1906.
Her father was a marble craftsman and supported his growing family (now numbering 10 children) until an influenza epidemic in 1929 caused his death. His young wife Angela had not mastered the complex English language, for her world centered on the upbringing of her large family. The youngest of which was a baby of six months. With no adult family members for emotional or financial support and with the pressures of no income insurmountable, the young mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. The four youngest children were placed in an orphanage and ultimately foster homes.
In a recent discussion with Sister Angela Marie, she recalled vividly the happy times she accompanied her mother, with toddlers and a baby carriage and infant to the local grocery store. Sister was only eight years old when her mother’s illness necessitated her being sent to an orphanage.
Almost miraculously, the children managed to keep in touch with one another and when their mother died of a heart attack in St. Theresa’s Convalescent Home in Haywood , California at the age of 85 in 1972, they were able to be a support to each other. The children had always yearned to learn more of their heritage, which they knew extended beyond the coastlines of the United States, but because of their mother’s illness and her inability to communicate, this desire remained a mere unfulfilled dream.