Ermelinda Lucotti, later simply known and loved as Linda, was born in Mede Lomellina on October 30, 1879. Her father was a baker, and when Linda was about 5 years old, the family began to grow – two little brothers were born to Linda. When Linda was 15, she lost her father and she became a great help to her mother, helping with the work in the bakery. She also was old enough to help out with her two brothers, and turned out to be like a guardian angel to them. Linda became a catechist in her parish when her pastor invited her to teach religion.
Linda felt a call to religious life; however, she did not feel attracted by the Canossians she had met at Pavia. She developed her Salesian vocation during a retreat in Nizza, Monferrato. A year later, Linda asked to join the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and made her vows in 1905. After obtaining a high school diploma for teachers, she was sent to attend the University in Rome, where she remained for four years, majoring in literature and pedagogy.
She stayed in Rome for three years as a teacher, assistant, vicar and then Superior. In 1915, Sr. Linda was called to teach in Sicily and then to be the Superior at the large school called, “Ali Marina.” From 1922 to 1928 she was the Provincial of the houses of Sicily and eventually was called to replace Mother Marina Coppa, as General Councillor for studies.
In 1938, since Mother Luisa Vaschetti, the current Mother General was blind, the Holy See entrusted to her– working alongside Mother Luisa Vaschetti – effective governance of the Institute, as Vicar General with all the powers inherent in the role of the Superior General. These were difficult years, marked by the drama of the war. The war made communication difficult, caused death, destroyed houses and forced the change of some works. Mother Linda, though shy by nature, proved to have uncommon gifts of government. She was elected Mother General in 1947 and re-elected with honor in 1953. She lived in an attitude of service, tirelessly giving of herself, even in the last months of her life, when she was suffered severe anemia that quickly took her life.
Few people, perhaps are worthy as she was of the sweet title of “Mother.” She was a good and intelligent mother, who was able to communicate with people in a simple and profound way. She shored up the unity of the Institute with her human and spiritual wealth.
Lines of government
Mother Linda Lucotti was known for meeting with each Sister, and directly overseeing the operation of houses, schools, and charitable organizations. Part of her plan was to visit the houses that for several years had not had a visit from a Superior. To accomplish this, she traveled over almost all of Italy, Europe and America, defying incredible difficulties.
Under her rule, there were important initiatives in the Institute in terms of education and training: the youth magazine called “Primavera” (Italian for Spring) was published, as well as, “Da Mihi Animas” Magazine. Additionally, the informative process for the cause of canonization of Blessed Laura Vicuna was begun. In the field of formation, she was able to make the dream of Fr. Ricaldone (one of Don Bosco’s successors), become a reality. His dream, which she took on, was the foundation of an International Institute for the pedagogical, catechetical, and social preparation of teachers. This institute was called “Sacred Heart.” Mother Linda died in Turin in 1957 at 78 years of age.