Introduction to the book Le zolle fiorite – Preghiere di una Serva di Dio,
by Giuseppe Micunco, Stilo Editrice, 2003.
I believe that Santa Scorese is a martyr for dignity of the woman. I say "martyr" in the large sense expressed by John Paul II about the "new martyrs", for indicating – during the Jubilee year – the modern "witnesses of the faith". And I say "dignity of the woman" in the strong sense used by our Pope who entitled his hymn to the female genius: Mulieris dignitatem.
And at last I link together both concepts by following the intuition of the Pope who defined the victims of the resistance to Nazism as "martyrs for dignity of men" (message Urbi et orbi Easter 1985).
in Bari (1989).
All people who remember youth consider Santa a charming figure. I met her for the first time five years after her martyrdom, while I was preparing an anthology of prayers, where I quoted a shining page of her diary, a declaration to Jesus: "I am so happy to be about to fall in love with you" (Cento preghiere italiane di fine millennio, La Locusta, Vicenza 1996, p.54).
I met again Santa some years after, when I carried out an investigation about "martyrs" of the twentieth-century and I decided to put her – as a younger sister – in the list of "martyrs for dignity of the woman", after Maria Goretti (blessed in 1947, canonized in 1950), Antonia Mesina (blessed in 1987), Pierina Morosini (blessed in 1989), Teresa Bracco (blessed in 1998), in fifth position after one Sainte and three blessed (Nuovi martiri. 393 storie cristiane nell'Italia di oggi, San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo 2000, p. 257).
Santa is also charming for those people who have twenty years old sons. I have loved Santa as a daughter by reading her profile, written in a fatherly way by Giuseppe Micunco. I am enchanted – and I am sure that readers will be enchanted too – by her vitality, her pursuit of her own way, her desire for fullness of life. She wants "a man to love" and she hopes to share with him "all her life". At the same time, when she strongly feels the fascination of God, she lives that as an experience of fullness and not of deprivation: "I will be a lily, a sail, an eagle, I will be music because You are all these things".
Finally, Santa fascinates all people who have met the mystery of God in their life and those who have had the opportunity to be before this mystery. She shows to live all her short adventure before the mystery. She feels at once the love of God and the silence of God. After few pages, she wonders if it is a good thing to devote herself to a God who "keeps on being silent" and she speaks spellbound about her relationship with him: "This God who is fallen in love with me does not know He is looking for trouble".
But we would not speak about Santa, here and now, if Santa had not been a victim of the martyrdom. There have always been – and there are nowadays, in Italy and everywhere - women who resist sexual violence till death: the Christian tradition considers them as "martyrs".
This tradition has been drawn very strongly, during this century, by all the communities which have spontaneously worshipped some of these martyrs, and by Popes Pious XII and John Paul II who have recognized that martyrdom, in five different acts of beatification (we have to add Carolina Kozka from Poland, blessed in 1987, to four Italian women above mentioned) and one of canonization.
who supported the painter Brovelli
during his work.
I suggest to call these sisters "martyrs for dignity of the woman", with reference to – as I said before - Mulieris dignitatem, the Papal encyclical of John Paul II (1988), in which you can read about "an heritage of sin" conditioning in the negative the relationship between man and woman: "a bad heritage" that each person and each generation must face, fight and overcome.
This overcoming must be realised by the man and the woman: "In fact, the man who is responsible for all what is offensive for the personal dignity and vocation of the woman, acts against his own personal dignity and vocation, too".
Obviously, a Christian woman will defend her own personal dignity on pain of death. But it can happen, it happens, that a woman must defend her dignity in front of an obsessive courtship or a sexual violence. Santa has lived both experiences. The mystery of iniquity keeps on revealing itself, also nowadays, through the violent assault to young women.
It is very difficult to speak about this subject in this global world where there is not respect for souls and bodies. But it is very important to try. So I want to propose a little innovation of the language: a journalist can experiment with new words and who knows more must evaluate the goodness of the proposal.
A traditional locution as "martyrs of modesty", or "of purity", is not understandable nowadays, not only by media but also by our children frequenting parishes. Besides, I believe that this expression – aiming at the protection of our own modesty – is not suitable, for the modern culture, to do these stories of strong women justice, because they know they have to resist what offend their personal modesty, the dignity and vocation of all women. Santa was conscious of that, like Pierina Morosini (from Bergamo, murdered by a rejected suitor when she was 26, in 1957), who looks like Santa in terms of age and culture, much more than others sisters who have been recognized as martyrs by the Church.
They are strong women not only victims of the cruelty of life and the Church knows that very well, as we can read in the homily of Pious XII for the beatification of Maria Goretti (April 28th 1947), Maria is compared with the roman virgin Agnese - "martyr for faith and modesty". Besides: "Their main virtue is the strength. The strength of the virgin, the strength of the martyr lit up by the youth. This strength is the defence and the fruit of virginity at the same time".
Santa looks for this strength in her and in God, she has to resist young man who presses his attention on her for three years and then he murders her! She calls him "dirty man" in a page of her diary, just after the first aggression. She is "frightened" but also "very angry" and she suffers because she must be accompanied! Do not we find in Santa all signs of the struggle that all modern girls have to fight to defend their dignity, against the male violence? Santa’s story – much more than the story of sisters who have preceded her in this testimonial adventure – can help to overcome the prejudice about these figures: that is to say, they are not unconscious victims of catholic and folk sex phobia.
While Maria Goretti was a young girl and she was twelve, Santa was a young and pretty woman, she attended the university and kept her diary, she was a volunteer of Red Cross, and she knew the life and the sexuality. Nevertheless she showed the same Marietta’s jealousy for the mystery of her body and love, as each Christian individual feels that is important to receive the true and future redemption of dignity of the woman and the man.
"Orizzonti dello Spirito"