Again we have an entry in our 1902 notebook signed by Tillie’s sister, Addolorata (Dora). It appears to be a letter from Dora to a friend in another village describing the First Communion taking place in Castelfondo at San Nicolo’ Church.
Translation is from Page 13 right side, and Page 14 left side
This week the schoolchildren of Castelfondo received the Easter Holy Communion and I want to tell you what we did.
On Tuesday the bells rang and we all went to church.
Seven lucky girls were admitted to the Communion, they were seated in the first bench and all the others behind them.
At seven started the Holy Mass celebrated by our parish priest. During the Mass the chaplain read the preparation to the Communion of our priest, then went to the sacristy wearing a white robe. He went to the altar, said the Confiteor [in Latin this means “I confess” and refers to a prayer said during Mass], then the Communion started. First the children of the first Communion, then all the others in good order.
After some minutes the chaplain read a thanksgiving. After that the priest gave some memory cards to the children who had received the first Communion. We said three prayers and we went away in good order and went back to our houses.
To tell the truth, on that day I said a word for you to Jesus and I hope you did the same.
I would like to know what you did in your village.
I am your affectionate classmate,
20 March 1902
Loretta Cologna (our translator) and I thought this was the perfect post to show a few photos of the church and an archival communion photo published by Dino Marchetti in his beautiful hardcover book about Castelfondo. That’s when I learned that Loretta’s mother, a school teacher in Castelfondo, was also in several of the communion photos. I asked Loretta to share a few details about her mother and here is what she told me:
From Loretta Cologna:
My mother was Livia Marchetti. She was born in 1920 and died in 2010. In 1940 she started teaching and worked for forty years as an elementary teacher until she retired in 1980.
For a few years she worked far from Castelfondo, then she got a job in the small village of Salobbi (north of Castelfondo) where she worked for eleven years. After that she had a position at the elementary school in Castelfondo, where she worked until her retirement.
Her school was the new school built in 1954. Before the new school, the original school was on the main square where the town hall offices are now.
The ground floor of the new school is for the nursery school children, ages 3 to 6. The first floor [in the US we would call this the second floor] is for the elementary grades.
In the past the elementary teacher took an important part in the preparation of the First Communion and accompanied the children to Mass. As my mother worked for more than twenty years in the Castelfondo school, there are a lot of photos of her in Dino’s book.
Loretta told me that until the age of eleven, she also attended the little green school house in Castelfondo where her mother taught. She and the rest of her class then attended middle school in the village of Fondo (just a few miles down the road from Castelfondo). Loretta went on to attend a language high school in the city of Bolzano (about a 45 minute drive over the mountain pass). Finally completing her schooling at a university of languages in Verona.
Thank you Loretta! We are so happy to have you as a friend of our family and our wonderful translator!
One additional note, the little green school house in Castelfondo contains the portraits of Damiano and Oliva (Zambotti) Genetti in the front entry way along with a dedication plaque. (Look closely at the marble plaque pictured below and you will see Addolorata’s name!) It is my understanding that funds raised from the sale of Damiano’s estate after his death in 1944, helped to finance the construction of the school house. My grandparents, Leone and Angeline (Marchetti) Genetti, visited Castelfondo in 1954. Perhaps it was for the dedication of the school. Leone’s brother, Stanley, also visited Castelfondo many times as an adult. According to Stanley’s autobiography, over the years he purchased several pieces of new playground equipment for the schoolyard.
So again we see how the lives of our ancestors are interwoven to create a vibrant family history!
Our special thanks to Dino Marchetti! His dedication and passion for preserving the history of Castelfondo is truly a gift to future generations and to his American cousins. The first communion class photo published in this post can be found on page 421 of Dino’s book “Castelfondo: Il paese la sua gente”. (Translation – Castelfondo: the country its people).
Find all previous translations from this series by scrolling through our earlier blog posts.