Sister Consolata D’Ambrosio, SFP


Anna d’Ambrosio was born in Angri, Italy, on May 2, 1939, daughter of Guglielmina and Antonio. She was the sixth of nine children.

In talking about her family, Sister Consolata said: “In our family faith was breathed in the atmosphere, and it was something we lived. Simplicity and charity were our daily bread. There was room in our house for anyone who was in difficulty and in real need of help. The example of my parents and what they helped me discover and live kindled in me the spark of my decision to give my life to the Lord in serving the poor and suffering. Because of them I found myself immersed fully in Blessed Frances’ charism of ‘healing the wounds of a poor and suffering humanity’.”

When Anna asked to enter the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, she was nineteen years of age. After the formation years, she took vows with the name of Sr. Consolata and made First Profession on January 5, 1960, making Perpetual Profession of Vows in 1966. From 1966 to 1970 Sister Consolata was at Borgo Lombardo and took care of the children at the kindergarten and their families.  After graduating from nursing school in 1972, she worked in the maternity ward in the Salvator Mundi Clinic. Sister Consolata was transferred to Petrignano d’Assisi in 1985 and worked there as a nurse, caring for many people both in their own homes and in the clinic.

She left for Albania in 1999 as a volunteer. Sister Consolata was in the Northeast region at the border with Kosovo and was placed in the refugee camp’s infirmary. She wrote about her experience: “Two hands are not enough, and a heart is not enough to console and care for the people of Kosovo. One would need a hundred, a thousand of them. You never know when you will be able to rest. The exodus of the refugees is constant. One cries everyday while we try to help these people endure all things that people should never have to suffer. Unfortunately people themselves continue to inflict infinite cruelty upon their own brothers and sisters.”

When Sister Consolata returned to Rome, she began a productive period, filled with interests and creativity.  She was a Eucharistic Minister in Regina Pacis Parish, she was involved in the charitable activities of the St. Vincent Society, and worked as a nurse in the neighborhood homes.  She volunteered for pastoral ministry in Città di Roma and San Camillo hospitals. When Yama (a seriously injured Senegalese child, who was sent to Italy for medical care) arrived in 1998, she followed her hospitalizations and stayed with her after many surgeries. She also competently attended to the health needs of the Sisters in her community.

Sister Consolata accompanied and performed spiritual care for a group of adults, founding the group “Mother Frances.” With Gabriella Bellotti she gathered and nurtured a group of people with various talents, in the S.O.L.E. Workshop. Together they would make objects for sale in the neighborhood, parish and other markets.  Many people found themselves sharing the diverse experience of the workshop, the aim of which was not simply to fundraise for various projects in Senegal but – as she wrote – “to gather to work and share joys and pains, rediscovering the value of friendship and the value of sharing.”

Sister Consolata’s strength and courage to care, comfort and encourage people were fueled – as she said – “ . . .by the trembling light of the lamp of the Most Holy in the chapel, where her divine Spouse awaited her day and night to exchange with her heart full of love ineffable moments of tender confidence.”

Three years ago she fell ill and the doctors had predicted she had only a few months left to live. Since then Sr. Consolata made a very powerful journey in the Lord’s footsteps and began an even stronger and spontaneous dialog with Him.

The encounter with Jesus in the morning at Mass was for her the most beautiful thing and a source of strength. “I have always had a great fear of dying. Today death does not scare me, on the contrary it is a beauty, a joy, to be going to the Lord. They had me embrace His cross when I had my surgery. The Lord wanted me to walk down this road because this is for me a life experience. (…) My desire is to wish to all ill people, the suffering, the Sisters, the brothers and all friends a great freedom of spirit and a big heart open to hope. Hope should never be missing because Jesus is always with us and walks with us if we look for Him.”

Here are Sister Consolata’s last words to the community: “I am at peace -- Jesus’s peace. I know each one of you loves Jesus; you are like a lamp that is lit before Him. Let us hope He will always stay with you.”

sr. Tiziana Longhitano, sfp

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