Rosetta was born in Aosta on October 20, 1922 to a deeply Christian family. She was the first of three sisters, one of which, Anna Marchese, also became a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. Rosetta and her sisters attended nursery school and the first two years of elementary school at the Salesian Sisters’ house in Aosta. For about 10 years, the Marchese girls regularly attended the oratory, a “play and pray” group that gathered at the Sisters’ house.
In this Salesian environment, Rosetta developed her religious vocation. On October 15, 1938, Rosetta entered as an aspirant in Turin, Italy. About a year later, she began her novitiate. During this period, Rosetta wrote a request to become a missionary, but because of the war, it was impossible for her to do so. On August 5, 1941, Rosetta professed her religious vows as a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. In Turin, she completed her high school studies and was then sent to Vercelli as assistant to the students who were boarders. From 1943 to 1947, Rosetta was a Sister who was also a college student, studying humanities at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. In the years 1947-1958 she taught in Turin where she was also the Vicar of the house and assistant to the newly professed and new missionaries. For more than twenty years, Rosetta was a Superior. The following is a list of the roles she fulfilled:
- 1958 – ’61 Superior in Caltagirone (Catania)
- 1961 – ’65 Superior in Rome (Via Dalmatia)
- 1965 – ’71 Provincial in Rome
- 1971 – ’73 Superior in Lecco
- 1973 – ’75 Provincial in Milan
- 1975 – ’81 Visiting Councilor
- 1981 – ’84 Superior General
Mother Rosetta became seriously sick during her tenure as Mother General, and in fact, she passed away while in office. Other than Mother Mazzarello, she was the only Superior General who died while fulfilling that role. She regarded her illness as a ministry of sanctification and as an exercise of spiritual motherhood. She had an encounter with Mother Mazzarello in prayer that made her understand that her illness that was a mysterious prolongation of the total offering of Mother Mazzarello for the holiness and the renewal of the Institute.
LINE OF GOVERNMENT
Mother Rosetta’s goal was to embody the service authority in humble simplicity. She wanted to live the kind of charity in a family spirit which arouses mutual trust and a sense of belonging. At the level of the Institute, took special care of the formation of the Superiors. She followed the special courses offered for new Provincials and Directresses of Novices. Mother Rosetta continued to animate the missionary expansion of the Institute mainly to Africa and the island of Samoa.
She lived three years of government intensely, committed to God’s mysterious plan. This goes to show that in Mother Rosetta’s mission, the most important aspect for God was not the amount of action, but the size of the passion and personal growth in holiness.
The opening session of the diocesan inquiry on the life, heroic virtues and reputation of holiness and signs of Servant of God Rosetta Marchese, professed religious of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Institute, took place on Friday 30 April 2021. During the opening session, the members of the diocesan Tribunal were sworn in: the Episcopal Delegate, Msgr. Giuseppe D’Alonzo; the Promoter of Justice, Fr Giorgio Ciucci; the Actuary Notary Marcello Terramani; the deputy notary Giancarlo Bracchi; and subsequently, also the Postulator, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, SDB, and the Vice Postulator Sr. Francesca Caggiano, FMA.
Present for the FMA Institute were Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Superior General, Sister Chiara Cazzola, her Vicar, Sister Piera Cavaglià, Secretary General, and some religious of the Generalate. In her speech, Mother Reungoat compared the testimony of Mother Marchese to that of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello: “Both – the only two Superiors General, so far, whose holiness has been asked for the recognition of the Church – consciously offered their lives for growth and the sanctity of the Institute, in difficult times. Both lived their mission as a service to the life and vitality of the Institute, paying attention to the journey of each sister and of the institution as a whole. Emblematic are the words she spoke when she was elected on 24 October 1981: ‘The Institute has always given me everything, but now it gives me all of itself‘. Both in their educational service were capable of intuition and mystagogy, they nourished their donation to the educational mission with a profound interior life, they were sisters and mothers for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, for the young people, for those who needed to be welcomed and accompanied in the response to God’s call.”