sr. Vittoria Paganini
To look with the eyes of God: a look of love.
Vittoria Paganini from Asiago, was 26 and was a school supervisor when she decided to become a “Combonian missionary”. For her, since the day she arrived in Africa with the group of the first “ wonderful” five, she wanted to be called this way. Maybe because she really considered herself a “daughter of the Apostolo della Nigrizia (Apostle of Black People)”, so similat to him in many ways, to feel that he was still alive and present even after his death.
To actualize the kingdom of God
Like Daniele, also Vittoria was also given a special gift, that of looking at situations and people from a special point of view, which was the same as God: a look of love. This gift allowed her to look beyond appearances, to see the real beauty, to reach deep into her heart and find there every hidden chance of doing good, to put it carefully into practise, to develop it and make it bear fruit , as Jesus wanted up to 100%,. In other words: to actualise the kingdom of God.
This gave her an extraordinary ability at making friends with her brothers and sisters and created around her an environment full of trust, peace and serenity. For this reason Don Battista, superior in El-Obeid wrote:
“Here, monsignor everything is fine …..One suffers and not a little, if one wants, from a lot of situations (occurrences) allowed by the Lord, but what is this suffering due to hardship when one can enjoy peace and serenity in his/her family?”
“ I share everything with you and the happiest of my days will be when I can give my life for you”
Vittoria hadn’t arrived in Khartum yet, when the Father delivered this well-known sermon, which gave back hope to everyone, but especially to the victims of the infamous human trade.
But one night he died. Together with her brothers and sisters, she renewed the solemn vows of loyalty to the mission “until the sunset of our life” she wrote to a friend, and certainly till death, if that was necessary.
If the Moors leave, we leave as well….
Otherwise we stay. The message was clear and was signed “Hanriot and Paganini”. The good pastor does not leave his sheep in time of danger. And in the autumn of 1883, while the Mahdist insurrection swept away all Sudan, danger was imminent also for Khartum.