St. Arcangelo Tadini: A Saint for Working Women

Arcangelo Tadini (1846-1912) (yes, his first name was Archangel) was a parish priest in northern Italy.  The Industrial Revolution had begun moving at full swing, transforming a lot about European society, during the mid-1800’s.  Tadini put a lot of energy into helping his people understand the place of work in Christian life.  In particular, he ministered to women who found themselves working in factories (a new situation), often in degrading conditions.  tadini

As part of this ministry, Tadini founded a new religious order in 1900 called the Workers Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth.  (The name refers to the time Jesus spent as a worker — that is, as a carpenter in Joseph’s carpentry shop.)   Their lives and ministry were remarkable, particularly for that time — the sisters took jobs in factories, working alongside other women, to encourage them and to teach by example that one could be a woman, work, and still live a life of faith and joy. 

(Note the date he founded the order, nine years after the publication of Pope Leo XIII’s blockbuster encyclical on the rights of workers.  In others words, Tadini and his sisters were working hard to implement the Church’s newly developing social teachings in a practical way, in the lives of real people.)

There’s an Italian website dedicated to Don Tadini here

The order he founded — which apparently has sisters today in Italy, Brazil, and Burundi — has a website here.  The site suggests they’re still very devoted to making known the Church’s social teaching.  And they’re obviously a vibrant bunch!  I love that main photo, with the sisters running towards the camera.  And then there’s this photo of the street sign, apparently where one of their houses is located.  The name of the street on the sign is literally “Happiness Lane.”  And someone has posted a hand-written sign below it that says, “It’s true!”

Someone has produced a little celebratory video here.  Not much to it, but I like the quotation from Tadini it features: “Holiness is in our hands.  If we want to posses it, we only have to do one thing: love God!

So thanks to God for this witness of the value of work and the holiness that we can reach in our work lives.  Thanks to for the sisters who are his spiritual daughters even today.  And prayers for them and their ministry. 

Seems like Fr. Tadini might serve as a fine patron to everyone who goes to work every day, and maybe especially for women who work.

His feast day is May 20.

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