The Founders of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Ann
Though very different in temperament and character, they immediately found themselves in harmony regarding profound values and ideals of life. They were married on 18 August 1806, and from then on without any interruption they began as a young couple their visits to the poor. The affection that they felt for each other became purer and stronger with time, because it was founded on faith and love.
Not having been gifted with children, the couple interpreted this painful situation as the ever providential design of the “inscrutable wisdom of God” and lived a very fruitful spiritual fatherhood and motherhood. The experience of Providence and Mercy, that they had in their personal and conjugal life, led them to open themselves strongly to the reality of their time and to leave a deep mark on the life of the city of Turin.
Giulia dedicated herself in a very particular way to the problem of prisons, visiting the women prisoners and building up personal relationships with them, in order to lead them to the concrete experience of the love of God the Father, who takes care of his creatures. She denounced the sorry state of the prisons to the government and did her best to transform the prison environment from a place of punishment of the condemned into a place of their re-education and redemption. This experience led her to found several institutions and in particular a Religious Congregation of women consisting also of ex- prisoners: the “Penitent Sisters of Saint Mary Magdalene”, today known as “Daughters of Jesus the Good Shepherd”.
Carlo Tancredi dedicated himself mainly to the education, instruction and formation of children and young people. He held posts of a certain political standing. He was Decurion and Mayor of Turin and made concrete choices in favour of the integral development of his fellow citizens.
In his many initiatives of charity, the little ones occupied a prominent place: for them he instituted in his palace the “Shelter homes” (the first Kindergartens of Piedmont) for the children of poor workers, who otherwise would have been abandoned on the roads. And in 1834, in agreement with his wife, he founded the Sisters of St. Ann, so that they would continue this mission in the Church at the service of the young generations.
Carlo Tancredi died on 4th September 1838 at Chiari (BS), in the arms of his most loving spouse; she outlived him till 19 January 1864, bringing to fulfilment the mission that they had together undertaken in the service of the poorest.
The love of God, on which they had based their life, continues to shine even today through their works. The Process of their Canonization is in course. Therefore it is hoped that Carlo Tancredi and Giulia be proclaimed blessed “together” and “as a couple” become a shining model of sanctity for all families.