Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Mystical Italian Women - Angela da Foligno

Mystical Italian Women

Beata Angela from Foligno (Umbria-Italy) was a woman who lived in the first half of 1200, and who born and died in Foligno, in January on 4th in 1309, where her mystical activity has aroused great devotion and a reflection that come up to our days.

The words of the Blessed are still current and her example of a sinful sinner devoted to luxury and vanity converted to penance and social actions still inspire disciples to her Shrine and still motivate her "Cenacle", currently in operation at the Church of San Francesco in Foligno. It was in fact a woman who based her existence only on the physical aspect, the worldliness and luxury without giving space to other aspects that were not those of appearing and being admired.

Few and scattered are the news about her youth, traceable directly in her memoirs dictated to her relative, Friar Arnaldo of the Convent of San Francesco where still today stands the Sanctuary dedicated to Angela that welcomes her funeral urn whose remains were also venerated by the Popes, like John Paul II in 1993 and more recently by Pope Francis who in 2013 has canonized her.

Of her origins, before the conversion, little is known except what it recalls in her Memories. Lella, in the family was so called confidentially, was born in Foligno in 1248 and certainly belonged to a good family, a family that owned real estate and land parcels. Her mother pushed her to have social ambitions to be conquered through the pleasant aspect, flirtatiousness and vanity as she herself remembers "For all the time of my life I looked for how I could be adored and honored" 1.

Remained orphaned, she was destined to marriage, as was fitting in those times, with a man older than she and with whom she had children. Widowed at the threshold of forty years in 1285 Lella, who had long been tired of her frivolous existence and set only on appearance and worldliness and who repeatedly tried to confess her sins, ashamed, she finally converted, embracing the Third Franciscan Order in 1291 after a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Francis, but choosing to remain in society and not to withdraw into the convent but to make available to others, women and men, religious and lay people, her experience and her faith, then became Angela.

Her mystical activity earned her the esteem and the affection of the religious and the lay of Foligno and not only, the fame of Angela's spiritual wisdom and her visions and mystical messages soon became an occasion of meeting so much that immediately after her conversion, which took place around 1285, a Cenacle was created around her, a meeting point where lay and religious, met, inspired by her spiritual guidance and her actions, to implement the message of faith of which Angela was an example and an instrument.

Angela, Lella, was a woman of vivacious intellect, she was recognized stubbornness, temperament, an acute intelligence even by those who knew her before conversion as a woman of society intent on luxury. Angela, who was illiterate, nevertheless became, around the "Cenacolo", a point of reference for the faith of women and men, religious and lay people who drew on her mysticism to operate and improve the society of their time.Angela's influence on sacred things was so great that even though she was illiterate, she was called "Master of Theologians", Magistra Theologorum, and many of her followers were counted as such, including Umbertino da Casale. 

From her mystical confessions comes the 'Memorial' that contains her biographical and spiritual memories that constitutes  the first part of the 'Liber', the manuscript codes on the life of the Saint that with the 'Istructiones', the second part consists of documents, especially family letters of Angela, edited by others, form the "Liber", the most important testimony of life, of conversion and of the mystical message of the Blessed.

The Cenacle of Beata Angela is still active, restored in 1989, is a promoter of spiritual and social initiatives. La Teca with the remains of the Blessed is located in the Sanctuary of Beata Angela da Foligno still in the Church of St. Francis of the Friars Minor Conventual of Foligno in Piazza San Francesco where Friar Arnaldo centuries before received from the voice of the Blessed her Memoirs which transcribed and made known to her followers and to posterity.

The liturgical festival takes place on 3rd and 4th of January in Foligno (Umbria- Italy).

"I who speak to you, I am the Divine Power, and the grace I offer you is such that I want you to be happy to all the men who will see you: not only to these but to all those who will think of you and they will remember you or they will hear you name, and to those who love me the most, the more you can help!" 2


Instructiones, da “Liber”, I, 25.
2Consolante Messaggio confidato dal Signore alla Beata”, “Autobiografia della Beata”, come da approvazione Ecclesiastica, Ed. Chiesa San Francesco, Foligno.

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Arcangela Tarabotti a nun to defend Women

My meeting with Sister Arcangela Tarabotti, born Elena Cassandra Tarabotti, dates back to more than ten years ago when I graduated on Arcangela thanks to Professor Conti Odorisio, who for those who do not know her is one of the greatest scholars and experts of Women's Studies in Europe.
The passion that came from that meeting is still alive and could not be otherwise seen the character in question. I "fell in love" with Arcangela Tarabotti for the strength of her words which in some of her writings became vehemence in defending female dignity.

Arcangela Tarabotti, born in Venice in 1604 and still little more than a child is destined to the convent by her parents probably because of a physical defect, she was in fact limping, or because the older sister in this way gave the Tarabotti family the opportunity to procrastinate the gifts of the other daughters smaller than Elena, however the fact is that the practice of "forced monacations" was a practice much in use at that time and was tolerated by both the Government and the Curia.

Arcangela took her vows when was a teenager and will remember the rite of passage in her writings still as an adult always speaks of it with a sense of desperation for the condition of "forced", a sense of oppression that will never abandon her in the course of her life, sacrificed inside a Benedictine monastery, that of Sant'Anna. Sister Arcangela, however, will also always remember the betrayal suffered by her parents who had forced her to shut down a cloister for life and in her work "The deceived simplicity" uses the metaphor of an unsuspecting and trusting little bird who instead of fluing in the air is caught in a network and trapped.

File:Chiesa di Sant'Anna di Castello Facciata.jpg
Santa Anna Convent when in 1617
Elena become nun as Arcangela.
Credits: Didier Descouens 
Arcangela retraces its path considering the economic and social aspects that bring so many desperate in convents and monasteries; starting from his condition he finds socio-economic motivations, as we would say today, concerning the entire Venetian Baroque society. Can understand and highlight the reasons that lead the Venetian government and its citizens to a practice so hateful for their daughters but also in the eyes of God, in fact Arcangela also stresses the responsibilities that the Church, despite the Council of Trent, demonstrates in this custom.

Sister Arcangela gives voice to her malaise and discomfort but not only she "avenge" in fact all the unfortunates like her, who does not remember the nun of Monza by Manzoni?, and even more she uses the same verses of the Holy Scriptures to defend women, all women from misogynist attacks that at the time were poured out on women, all of them, as such, that is, inferior beings born only to serve man.

Arcangela Tarabotti has gone down in history as Sister Arcangela but she thought she was just and simply Elena who wanted to be: "A wandering star" and I tried to gather her testimony of a woman and bring her voice beyond her time ...

So for Wikidonne, the Italian project of Wikipedia to reduce the gender gap presents in the encyclopedic entries edited by users, historians, academics, journalists, teachers, writers ... I edited the encyclopedic voice that concerns her while my last contribution is for the blog "Women's History Network" edited by some academics of English universities that deal with Women's Studies: "Arcangela Tarabotti, Elena Cassandra: afeminist Venetian Republic Nun".  

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Kuki Gallmann an Italian- Kenyan incredible Woman

Kuki Gallmann is known for her books about her life in Africa but all starts in Italy. In fact Maria Boccazzi was born in Venice in 1943 and when she was more than twenty years old became a mother of a child, Emanuele, while her former husband decided to remarried and move to the United States.
Mary's life changes one evening when after a dinner with friends has a car accident. She is rescued and brought to the hospital where she will meet Paolo Gallmann. The two fall in love and get married and decide to realize a dream that they have in common. Maria in fact is the daughter of a well-known doctor, explorer and archaeologist from Treviso  and Paolo is an agronomist and their dream is to live in Africa. So in the early 1970s they buy a whole ranch in Kenya where they can shaped their dream.
The new couple, with the little son of Maria, Emanuele, move  to Kenya where their new life begins. The beginnings are not easy because Mary is often alone for long periods while her husband is busy in activities that take him away for a long time. Meanwhile, little Emanuele grew up and was sent to study at a College: life after the first difficulties finds its settling in this wild and uncontaminated nature.
One day, however, the tranquility of Maria, naturalized kenyan by the name of Kuki Gallmann, is disrupted by the news of the death of her husband Paolo who died in a road accident on a Mumbasa street. Kuki is pregnant and five months after the terrible event, a girl baby named Sveva is born. Meanwhile, Kuki's first son, Emanuele returns to live with his mother in Kenya where he had spent much of his childhood, sharing his Mother's enthusiasm and naturalistic initiatives.

Unfortunately, however, a few years after the loss of her husband, Kuki loses also her son. Emanuele in fact trying to extract the poison from a snake to create an antidote is bitten and killed by poison. Despite the pain Kuki accepts the death of her son as a natural fact related to the African life and so decides not to leave but to remain in her country.
In memory of her son and husband, who disappeared shortly from one another, Kuki creates an organization, the Gallmann Memorial Foundation,  dedicated to environmental protection that sees in her vast ranch a shelter for fauna and local flora where are housed numerous scholars, biologists, zoologists... In a short time her initiative is well-known internationally, but also to local crime and to poachers as well, she herself in fact struggles the exploitation of animals hosting and protecting those rape and exploited species such as elephants, black rhinos and buffalos.
But her center is a reference point for the local population as well because Kuki creates within its project also initiatives to rediscovery and hand down  the local traditions such as the wool or the wood processing and the traditional herbal medicine.

For more than forty years Kuki has been pushing forward her loving project for Africa from which she has received many good but also bad emotions, the last one exactly Sunday April 23rd when she was the victim of an ambush in her ranch. In her usual perlustration, Kuki has came down to check the road that had been interrupted by a tree but was shot in the stomach. Imediatelly she was transported to the hospital where she received the first care for being transported by an helicopter to Nairobi where she is taken care of by her daughter Sveva.
The incident is attributed to the shepherd tribes who, due to drought, invade private properties to look for feed to their animals, in fact for this reason unfortunately there are frequent private property infringements.
Kuki, despite being in serious condition, reports that doesn't want to leave the country despite the situation has become very dangerous for a long time. Her daughter, a few days after the accident, says that her 73-year-old mother is stable but in slow improvement because she has the strength of that Nature that she has been protecting for years and which is now protecting her in exchange.

Kiki's life has been descrived by herself in many autobiographical books including "I dreamed of Africa" ​​from which in the 2000 was based the movie starred by Kim Basinger. This movie contributed to the fame of Kuki also to the  International audience, making her the "lady of Kenya" ​​as well as the beloved Karen Blixen.

In this interview to the Kenyan tv Kuki herself tells us her story and mission, just a few months before the shooting: 


1991 "I dreamed of Africa"
1994 "African Nights"
1995 "The colour of the Wind"
1998 "Night of the Lions"
2001 "Elephants in the Garden"

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Friday, 31 March 2017

On 31st March is the Gender Pay Day and OG Gender Opportunity would like to share its article about Gender Pay Gap in Female Soccer that since one year ago was in NoiDonne blog. It is just a year ago but the things are the same.

Although the title refers to Female Sport, this article is  a general and international analysis that moves from USA Female Soccer to the Gender Pay Gap in many EU countries, extra EU Countries and USA.

The Female Football is affected by gender pay-gap 

It's time for football European market and inevitably also of digits, but it is go unnoticed that the United States Women's national soccer team won the World Cup and earned a digit millionaire well below than that one received by their fellow men ...

by Silvia S. G. Palandri

In time of the European Football Championship, of soccer market and of numbers and figures, it did not find space, between the networks of national teams, the news that the U.S. Women's national soccer team scored a Bill  through the US Senate which requires equal pay with its male colleagues.
The United States Women's national football team has won the World Cup and for this  has gained an award of $2 million but its colleagues of the German Male National team which  won the same victory in 2014 gained $30 million...everyone can see the glaring disparity that led the Women's national soccer team to protest openly to this treatment of blatant Inequality. The players themselves have estimated to earn as much as 25 percent less than their colleagues.
Senator Patty Murray has thus decided to support their protest and with twenty other senators filed a resolution which has been widely approved. However, the resolution has no legal effect but only a value of public pressure on the Government of football so much that another Senator, Patrick Lealhy, thought to present directly to FIFA another petition but was harshly opposed retaining other issues more urgent and necessary  for the country.
This resolution is not the only proposal on wage equity to lie forgotten, in fact, even the "Fainess Paycheck Act" that would offer further guarantees at a federal level to the equal pay, and that would update the "Equal Pay Act of 1963, is now still in the USA Senate so that  "the Kennedy-era law " is still in force.

The only law recently approved the wage equity was that of 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by President Obama at the beginning of his first term. With this Bill one wanted to mark the existent disequilibrium between male and female salaries trying to enshrine in law the equal pay for equal job.
This law bearing the name of an American citizen, Lilly Ledbetter, who once retired realized to perceive less than 40% compared to her colleagues and that after a legal battle against her former company did not see recognized her instances, losing the case.

It was perhaps to avoid this surprise that in Germany, where women earn 22 percent less than their colleagues, that the family,youth and for women Minister, Manuela Schwesig presented last year a preliminary bill to solve the pay-gap that should have given its effects already in 2016 if it had not run aground in Parliament opposed by many criticisms of both economic viability for companies both for the consequent fear for female employment levels; for someone in fact this equality would discourage businesses in hiring women.
This law furthermore proposes the online publication of the salaries as an instrument of guarantee of equal pay by category so that everyone can compare and verify the adequacy of their remuneration.

In the rest of Europe the situation for women is just as little profitable saw the average pay gap which amounted to 16.4% and where in Spain a women earn 17% less than men , the 15% less in France and receive a paycheck 20% lighter than men in Hungary, 30% in Finland and 19,4% in Estonia, and a  23.4% less in Austria.

The situation in countries that are outside the European Union such as Switzerland is also similar in fact in February the campaign "Equal Pay Day"  triggered with the intent to re-enter the legislative planning for the three-year period 2016-2019, the law for wage equity that is required by the art. 8 of the Constitution and that instead the National Council has excerpted from the legislative programme.
The law for equal pay between men and women envisaged concrete measures that, according to the promoters of the campaign, would allow to overcome the imbalances in pay that in Switzerland stands at 18.4%. 

In Italy the situation is no different from the rest of Europe if the estimated percentage of female wages, calculated for work hours, according to a study by the European Union amounted to 6.7% less than men's wages.
And in football? Football and all Italian sports are adjusted by CONI and Federations which did not change the rules for which women's sports are ousted from the professionalism in accordance with a law of 1981, the n.91 of March 23, which defines the requirements of the professional athlete, all of whom are exclusive matters of the Federations. So that Women are and remain  "amateurs".

The National Association of Female athletes, ASSIST, at its annual meeting, held at the national level, wanted to make note of this blatant situation of inequality and discrimination that affects women not only in economic terms but which affects also the level of social status and of performance evaluation.The protest of the athletes has been implemented by the bill n. 1996 in 2015 by the will of the Vice-President of the Senato Chamber Valeria Fedeli (-Minister of Education and University nowadays-) and Senator Josefa Idem and that draws to full professional recognition of the Italian Women athletes.

The bill, "Amendments to the Act 23 March 1981 n. 91 for the promotion of gender balance in the relationships between professional clubs and sports", was presented in July last year and after the reading in the Senate Chamber of the Republic, followed by the presentation, is still awaiting to the hearing.

The FIGC, the Italian Football Federation, for its part is trying a rehabilitation of the role of women's skills. In fact, the women's football clubs are under the National Amateur League, LDN, but for the 2015-2016 season the professional clubs of Men of Level A and B are required to ration at least 20 girls under 21  years old to increase the possibility that women can compete in various categories depending on age.

It was also given the opportunity to sell the sports title to entice professional clubs to be interested in women's football even in the most advanced levels.

These measures were planned under the Planning Guidelines for the Development of Women's Football. Meanwhile, perhaps thanks to these decisions, as a first effect, there was a sponsorship deal for a woman midfielder, Aurora Galli, with a famous brand of Italian shoes and sports products that for the first time has chosen to sponsor a woman footballer .

A favorable assists by the FIGC to the Italian Women soccer that should give its results in time but that can also lead to win the most important game: the equality in every field both economic and professional.

| 27 Giugno 2016

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Global Women's Strike on the International Women's Day March 8th in Italy

Today 8th March in Italy was held the event which affected the whole World and which involved Women internationally. After years this day has become a collective meeting around the World of all Women who have recalled the achievements got but most of all they want to demonstrate and make their voices heard on many needs that the status of Women want to reach. An event that worldwide saw each Country take part with its own specificities: The Global Women's Strike on the International Women's day.

In Italy there are many events that every city has organized to call for unity and action their own female citizen, the more experienced, the less experienced, the young, the baby girls from Mantova to Bologna from Milan to Rome and Naples.

This year it is chosen to celebrate this day in a collective way, after so many years since the claims of the '70s, Women will be in the streets to shout that things do not go well for Women in Economy against the gender gap moreover there are also categories like Sports in which female professionalism is not recognized at all.
n home-care that is not recognized and therefore not paid but that makes go around the entire system of the Country, and the domestic violence: a Woman is killed every two days by her husband, partner, boyfriend or father. 

Futhermore in the health level Women have difficult procedures for a free abortion, there were also controversy on fertility and about the access to medical procreation.
n Education  Italian Women have no place in Literature, History, Art and even in the institutional as in everyday life speech but so also in Toponym of the public space as roads or squares and in the Mass Media.
An image from the Italian Blog of Og with Italian quotes
by Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir and Olympe de Gouges
with Mimosa the Italian eblema for the Women's Day

In particular, it was decided to march today in favor of all those Women who have suffered and suffer violence because one really do something in Italy for this which has now been called a social phenomenon, with the name of "femicide" and which is unfortunately accompanied by appalling figures of crimes that see Women brutally killed.
Italian Women will ask a real Law to protect and give concrete help to many Women who every day suffer violence within their domestic walls without anybody knows it.
The same omen had the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, in his institutional speech he discussed about Peace and pointed out that the presence of Women can make a difference to this condition that is necessary for humanity to progress and that only a law about violence against Women can give a tool  to denounce and achieve freedom also for children involved in acts of violence .
The Law under discussion in Parliament in fact is responsible for the first time to give assistance to abused Women and also to their children who are often witnesses and victims of violence themselves.

The march is promoted by NONUNADIMENO  ( not one less) a Women's network that began to denounce the social phenomenon of violence against Women, embracing theWomen's March and even the global strike of Women in both the public and private sectors with the slogan: 'if our lives don’t count then we strike'.

<a href="http://www.freestock.com/photos/group-of-business-women-smiling-isolated-52413655">Image used under license from Freestock.com</a>
Credits: Image used under license from Freestock.com
And so in agreement with the major national Unions today has been declared the  24-hour  national strike even of the public transport to allow Women and those who want to join the strike even if there has been episodes of deterrence by the smaller Unions that do not have joined the strike.

Many are then the cultural initiatives today all Women in fact will be admitted free of charge in all National Museums throughout Italy and many events are organized in honor of famous and important Women for the Italian History but not only: readings, exhibitions, book presentations , archaeological trails all in the name of Women.

The controversy over the Mimosa, that is all an Italian matter, the flower that is the emblem of the Italian"Women's Day", because once it was natural in the streets and now instead has become a business for florists, and which was chosen by the Italian Parliamentary Teresa Mattei in 1946, remained on the corner compared to the global scope of the event that has seen after thirty years Women to return to the streets all united against violence against women, for new social, political and cultural Rights. Everyone for the occasion dressed in fuchsia and black instead of red as their American or English collegues.

"Tremble tremble, the Witches are back!"* With or without Mimosa ...


* This is one of the most famous slogan of the Italian Femminist of the 70’s

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Women Patron of Arts

Luciana Gentilini,
wife of one of the greatest painter of the XX century,
 continues to protect and promoting the Art of his husband

Traces of Women who were Patron of Art in History, especially in the ancient and modern period, did not  remained except of the few privileged such as Isabella d'Este, Caterina de' Medici, Lucrezia Borgia, Isabella Gonzaga before or Catherine II and Felicita Bevilacqua later.

Yet examples of Women even in more modern times that have enhanced the Art in its forms there have been important both for the culture of their country and for the entire human heritage. The best known, perhaps, Peggy Guggenheim who with her love for Art and the novelty has managed to collect works of Art even before they were retained Art! She in fact  discovered and exploited the unknown artist  Pollock making him a listed and requested artist by collectors and Museums around the world. Even more did Johanna Van Gogh, in fact not many people know that  the fame and reputation of one of the most important and valued Artists of our time, Vincent Van Gogh, due all this to his sister in law.

Once Johanna become a widow, inheriting all the collection from her husband Theo, realized the talent of Vincent and began to promote it. Back in the Netherlands when her husband was already very ill, to his death opened a guess-house where she have the idea to expose all the canvas of her brother in law, Vincent. It was already a first step to make them known, but it was not enough ...She began to read the letters that the two brothers had written over time and taking the suggestions that Vincent himself gave to Theo: few exhibitions and sell only the necessary. The first results will come soon,  Maus offers a first exhibition in Brussels where, however, the pictures of Vincent were cut off without mercy.  

Isabella d'Este one of the most
important Patron of her time.
 Paint by Titian 1534
Credits WikiCommons
But Johanna did not give up and look for new opportunities: small galleries, art critics open to the new, small exhibitions, new artistic friendships and so little by little, inspired by a sentence read in a feminist newspaper according to which it is necessary to seek a success but a long lasting success rather a quick but fleeting one, Johanna is not discouraged and therefore, hand in hand, exhibitions multiply, reviews vivify, and Museums called so at the end the Art of Vincent Van Gogh was imposed to the World.

A similar story is one that sees more than three decades of the work of recovery, archiving, preservation and exhibition of the works by Franco Gentilini by his wife Luciana. Her latest initiative is the exhibition which took place in Pontassieve, near Florence, entitled "Franco Gentilini- works of Luciana Gentilini's collection" which was in show until early March.

One can relieve some analogies with the story of  Johanna Van Gogh, but this is true only in the commitment and art promotional success of their loved ones, but the similarities end there, because when Franco Gentilini, one of the most important Italian artist of the '900, disappeared he was already an artist well known and appreciated in Italy and abroad of world famous, quoted.
 It will be exactely his art that will bring Luciana in life after losing her husband: "the agony of his death stole my mind. (...) Inertia and silence. Endless days until nightfall, endless nights waiting for it overlooked the new day ... 'severe depression' is the medical term "[1]. The request to organize an exhibition in memory of her husband, however, showed her the right way: "From that moment the uncontrollable inertia that had gripped me for so many months turned into an equally uncontrollable frenetic activity, which does not it is more arrested "[2]. And actually Luciana Gentilini since 1984 has organized over one hundred exhibitions in Italy and abroad, travelling from Venice to Brussels from Marrakech to Budapest, from Paris to Cairo, from Turin to Halle ... and not only to organize exhibitions but also to protect her husband's work against counterfeiters who now fear her like a ghost in the night because she force them to cut themselves with strong scissors the incriminating canvans!
In recent years she has then recovered, thanks to a grueling thirty-year work, the precious artistic work of the Maestro Gentilini even from his earliest youth work, organized it in the "Luciana Guintoli Gentilini Fund" and conveyed successively in the "Gentilini Archive" which also collects correspondence and biographical documents from the 30s to the 80s' of the XX century, and finally donated to the Quadriennale of Rome and declared in 2013 by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage "of particularly important historical interest"[3].

Stories of Women involved in the Art of their loved ones who have found their realization no longer as artistic subjects but as advocates of an artistic memory; rare witnesses of an unprecedented journey into the History of Art.

[1] A. Natali, A. Bimbi, “Franco Gentilini- Opere della collezione di Luciana Gentilini”, catalogo della collezione, Ed. Polistampa, Firenze, 2016, pag. 27
[2] Idem
[3] L. Gentilini, "Continuare il Tempo", Ed. De Luca, Roma, 2013, pag. 

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