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Lucio Spinola became an SFP Associate on May 11, 1997, when he celebrated his Covenant as Associate, inspired in part by the example and involvement of his wife Anna Apicella, who became an Associate in 1995.

He and Anna  participated, for as long as their health permitted, in the annual formation for Associates at the community of Casa Nazareth in Padua, in the  Italian Area Assemblies, and in special conventions organized for Associates in Messina, Assisi, Greccio and Aquisgrana.
When he made his Covenant as an Associate, he wrote “I have very much appreciated the path of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, who, with their example of how to pray and serve others, guided me to walk with them on the road to God's love and to reciprocal love. They taught me to pray, suffer and rejoice with everybody."

He was a generous man, who always welcomed Sisters when they came to Milan to participate in events and formation classes, offering them lodging and driving them anywhere they needed to go. With Anna, he visited and helped neighbors and friends who were lonely or in need, and who were suffering hardship. He participated in life and in Parish community initiatives, with a simple, joyful attitude.
He could discover the little joys in everyday life . This is one of his experiences: “One day I found a small sparrow who was stuck in the roof and it took a lot of work to get it out. I had to try a number of different ways. In the end, I was able to free him and I took him home to heal. Three days later he flew to complete freedom. I was immensely happy then: life is made up of these little joys."
For social occasions with the Padua community and Associates, he normally brought a bottle of wine. Once he even came to Padua with a saucepan and his special tomato sauce to put on the pasta.

In times of need and suffering, he always had a prayer for the Sisters and Associates. He called upon Mother Frances directly because, through her intercession, he was confident the mercy and gifts he asked for would be delivered.
When he traveled with Anna by train, he normally introduced himself to the people sitting next him as an Associate of SFP and he told them them about Mother Frances, as well as telling them anecdotes about life and about service to the Sisters and Associates.
When he got closer to leaving this earth for the Gates of Heaven, Lucio, a sweet, helpful and attentive man, contacted his daughters to make peace with them and ask for their forgiveness for the misunderstandings which had long divided them.
Near the end, he shared with another Associate a fundamental choice for him and for the way he chose to live: that of placing “all hope in God. Let us trust in God”. He always believed that “Love is patience, it is benevolent; love is not envy; love does not boast, it does not pump itself up, it does not behave improperly, it does not act in its own interests, it does not aggravate, it does not point out evil, it does not enjoy injustice, rather it takes joy in the truth. Love suffers every thing, believes every thing, hopes every thing, accepts every thing. Love will never fall short."

Lucio concluded his walk on this earth on October 30, 2016, he was 73 years old. Toward the end, his health had declined to the point that he had to be admitted to hospice in Milan, to ensure he got the right treatment and relief from pain. The illness was leading him to his death. Anna was able to look after him and stay close to him until the end.
We remember his simplicity and his desire that we pray for him
In the last telephone call with the community of Casa Nazareth, his voice now breathless, he asked for nothing but prayers for himself and for Anna.
Now from Heaven he will continue to pray for us, a commitment he made with his Covenant as Associate, a commitment we are certain he will keep.
Thank you, Lucio, for what you have given to us and for the path we have shared together.

Andrea Canova and Casa Nazareth

Published: January 26, 2017