Mariuccia Has Died: Her Mother Had Wanted Her to Be a Boy

Mother Giovanna Saveria Alberoni, 94, the first superior of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate in India has died.

Born in San Giorgio Piacentino, Italy, second of three girls, she was baptised Maria Filomena. Her pet name was Mariuccia.

Her mother told her that, while being pregnant, she prayed that the child might be a boy and become a priest.

When she was 12, Mariuccia went to Piacenza to study at the Ursuline’s professional school to become an office worker, but went on to become a teacher and took the entrance examn for university.

In January 1946, she entered the sisters’ novitiate with 11 others. Her plan was to become a missionary in Africa, but her congregation had a mission in India where she landed in November 1948. She studied medicine at New Delhi University and became a physician.

Mother Giovanna developed Bandra’s Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai from a 22-bed nursing home in 1978 to a full-fledged multi-specialty institution and medical research with 268 beds.