MOTHER LUISA VASCHETTI
Luisa was born in Turin in 1858. At age 11, she lost her mother and quickly became the effective mother to her 7 brothers and sisters. For nearly a decade, these circumstances provided a progressive and intense educational and motherly experience that prepared Luisa for a motherhood which was extensive and more spiritual.
At age 24, Luisa was accepted among the postulants of the FMA by Don Bosco himself. Even though she was a novice, she was sent to Argentina, where she spent about 20 years (1883-1903) as a teacher, superior and later as a visiting superior. Sr. Luisa was led by two teachers of Salesian spirituality who offered her two different ways of doing things: Don Costamagna was known for firmness in giving direction; this was balanced out by the Salesian kindness demonstrated by Fr. Vespignani.
From 1903 to 1924, Sr. Luisa Vaschetti was the private secretary for Mother Catherine Daghero, and later for the General Council. When Mother Daghero passed away, Sr. Luisa Vaschetti was chosen to replace her. In 1938, she became blind and was aided by Sr. Linda Lucotti until her death in 1943.
Lines of government
Deeply and tenaciously Salesian, Mother Luisa Vaschetti decisively faced a vital issue for the Institute: the training of the Sisters and the increase of vocations. She was concerned about the inner life of her Daughters and their holiness, and was sometimes sorry to find too many Sisters who acted like Martha and too few who acted like Mary in the Institute. During the period of Mother Luisa Vaschetti, seven novitiates were opened in Italy alone, as well as five in other European nations, and eight in America.
Mother Luisa was not prone to long journeys, but she personally visited the main houses of Italy and Spain leaving her team with the task of visiting the Institute throughout the rest of the world. She gave direction from the Mother House and was known for reaching the Sisters with her precious monthly circular letters. Since she had been a missionary, the missions were one of her favorite topics and missionaries were a particular object of her concern. Despite the difficult socio-political situation of the time, missionary expeditions continued to be sent at an intense pace.