Catholic nun declared ‘Righteous’ for Jewish efforts

Israel has declared an Italian Catholic nun ‘Righteous Among Nations’ for her life-risking efforts to save Jews during World War II.

Mother Josephine Biviglia was abbess of the Sisters of Saint Quirico in Assisi during the war and is reported to have used her position to direct the community convent’s use as a place of sanctuary for those in danger from the fascist regime, Jews and non-Jews alike.


Testimony of those who survived as a result of the safety they found with Mother Josephine is added to by the nun’s own penned recollections which she left at the convent when her time as abbess ended: “While from the end of September 1943 the Anglo-American aerial offensive was intensifying over Italy…political persecutions, personal vendettas and odious orders were issued against Jews and soldiers … our institutes were becoming places of refuge for the dispersed, the politically persecuted, refugees, Jews, and evaders of the concentration camps. Our convent played its part. It goes without saying that we ourselves, obeyed only a sentiment that arose spontaneously from time to time when unfortunates presented themselves: in face of each one’s pain every desire of judgment was silenced, even if we were able to give one: in every case mercy would have triumphed as it triumphed. And it triumphed for love for God and for our neighbour: the first gave the impulse to help the weak; the second almost always for innocents living in those days under the constant worry of arrests, of concentration camps, of execution by firing squad or worse!”

A ceremony to confer the award in Mother Josephine’s honour will take place in the near future.