Israel to Honor Cloistered Nun for Wartime Aid

Posthumous Award for Mother Giuseppina Lavizzari

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ROME, OCT. 31, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Avvenire).- A cloistered nun, Mother Giuseppina Lavizzari, has been conferred posthumously the highest honor awarded by Israel to Gentiles who rescued Jews from the Holocaust.



The recognition of Righteous Among the Nations will be awarded to the Benedictine nun of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Convent of Ghiffa, in the Italian province of Verbania, by the Israeli Embassy.

Mother Lavizzari is being honored for "having housed, from September 1943 to June 1944, at great risk to herself and to her religious community, four Jewish women and two girls who were thus able to save themselves from deportation," members of the Benedictine religious community confirmed.

On Nov. 11, Shai Cohen, adviser of the Israeli Embassy in Rome, will confer the award in the Convent of Ghiffa to the prioress of the community, Mother Maria Pia Tei, in the presence of two of the wartime survivors.

Giuseppina Lavizzari was born on Sept. 7, 1881 in Sondrio. She entered the Convent of Ghiffa in May 1908.

During War World II she took into the convent -- where other displaced persons had already sought refuge -- the four Jewish women and two girls, members of the same family, who were fleeing persecutions.

Three of them are still alive: Maria Luisa Minerbi and her nieces Adriana and Renata Torre, who at the time were 9 and 7 years old.

Mother Lavizzari gave them safe shelter until June 1944, when she was told that the following day German soldiers would search the convent. Mother Lavizzari erased all traces of their stay, once they had fled.