Virgin, Professed Sister of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy
Memorial : 25 February
Antonina De Angelis was born on 24 October 1880 in San Gregorio, in Italy's Abruzzi region, the firstborn of eight children.
As a child, she was continually in contact with nature and was accustomed to working in the fields. She also learned from a very young age to be honest, sincere and hardworking, all of which she beautifully joined to a modest, simple demeanour.
Antonina was gifted with a great sensitivity to the needs and suffering of others and was very pious.
A calling to Religious life
In her heart, the young girl felt that God was calling her to the Religious life in the Institute of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, founded in Savona by Sr Maria G. Rossello, who died the same year that Antonina was born.
On 14 November 1904 she entered the Institute and was given the name "Sr Maria Ludovica". Exactly three years later she was sent to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where with quiet discretion she worked in the children's hospital where she was stationed.
Her 'programme': heart and soul
Notwithstanding a new culture and new language, Sr Maria Ludovica found it quite easy to understand others as well as to make herself understood. It was the charity of Christ that moved her; she did not "work" according to strategies or programmes but gave herself to God and others completely, heart and soul.
She began her service at the children's hospital in Buenos Aires as a cook and later was appointed the Superior of her Religious community. Under her guidance, the Religious "family" was united with the same purpose and ideal: the good of the children and undivided love for God.
Contemplative in action
Sr Maria Ludovica became a true instrument of God's love and mercy to those around her. With a peaceful spirit, strong determination and good will, her heart always focused on God and a perpetual smile on her face, she was truly a "contemplative in, action".
Those around her truly perceived the presence of God in her and of God's love for them through her.
Sr Ludovica's resolution was to "do good to every one, without discrimination". With her characteristic determination and trust in God's providence, she was able to get new operating and convalescent wards installed in the hospital and to obtain new medical equipment.
She also founded a convalescent hospital for Argentine children at Mar del Plata and was able to open a church. And in City Bell she started a farm so that the children could be provided with fresh produce.
For 54 years Sr Ludovica exercised her motherly care over the hundreds and hundreds of people of every age and social and cultural background who sought her counsel and comfort.
On 25 February 1962 Sr Maria Ludovica died, leaving a deep impression upon all those who knew her, especially the medical personnel with whom she had the most frequent contact and who were edified and inspired by her example.
As a testament to the esteem her colleagues had for her, the children's hospital was re-named in her honour after her death.