March 3, 2020

A new House of Life proclaimed in Rome

The “Istituzione Teresiana” has been officially recognized as a House of Life by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

This institution saved the lives of Jews and other people persecuted by the Nazis during the 9-month long occupation of the Germans in WWII

The ceremony took place at Villa Ximenes, headquarters of the institution, with the attendance of Prof. Gregoria Ruiz, from the General Council of the Teresian Institution, Prof. Paola Palagi, Director of the Teresian headquarters in Rome, Father Gianpaolo Sartoretto and Don Stefano Matricciani, in representation of His Eminence Guerino Di Tora, auxiliary Bilshop of Rome, Prof. Grazia Loparco, lecturer at the Pontifical Faculty of the Educational Sciences Department at Auxilium and one of the world experts on the sheltering of Jews in Italy,, Dr. Massimo Finzi, from Association of the Memory of the Shoah, at the Jewish Community of Rome, Prof. Antonio Parisella, President of the Museum of History of the Liberation, Prof. Anna Doria, historian and author of books. On behalf of the IRWF Ms. Silvia Costantini (Vice-President) and Ms. Elena Colitto Castelli (House of Life program coordinator) attended the event.

Also present were brother Roberto Moraglia, Director of the Istituto San Leone Magno and Paola Massia and Paolo de Carolis, both of them saved by the institution during WWII.

During the Holocaust, the Teresian Institute was located at Via Gaeta 8 and there, five Spanish members, Maria Luisa González del Pino, Anna Maria Lopez, Milagro Nadal, Mariana Martin and Matilde Marin, opened its doors to Jews and others who were being persecuted by the Nazis.

The five Spanish Teresians had arrived in Rome a few months earlier and despite their lack of knowledge of the city, they risked their own lives to save others.

This riveting story came to light thanks to the research done by Prof. Anna Doria, who wrote her book: “The Germans have come today: The daily life in Rome under Nazi occupation”.

The Teresian Institution is a secular association established in Spain in 1911 by the priest San Pedro Poveda.

Nowadays, the Teresian Institute is present in 29 countries in 4 continents, through schools, universities and social projects.

Following the speeches and the testimonies by Ms. Massia and Mr. Carolis, the duo Elia Fleta and Marco Martinelli interpreted the famous song “Gracias a la Vida”, followed by the unveiling of the plaque.

Unveiling of the House of Life plaque

Left to right: Sister Gracia Loparco, Silvia Costantini, Elena Colitto Castelli,
Prof Anna Doria and Dr. Maximo Finzi