"A Cheerful Missionary"

Sr. Carla Baietta, FMA

By Sr. Denise Sickinger, FMA

Sr. Carolina (Carla) Baietta FMA, Italian, missionary ad gentes in Portugal and Mozambique was born in Mediglia (Milan) on February 9, 1917. She made her first profession in the FMA Institute on August 6, 1940. Sr. Carla had a long life, 103 years of age, 80 of consecrated life, 74 dedicated to the mission ad gentes. She died on September 4, 2020, in her mission land: Maputo (Mozambique).

The youngest of five sisters and a brother, Carla was born into a deeply Christian family. She lost her father when she was just one year old. Her mother took care of her six children, supported by a deep faith. Together with her sisters, she lived with a cousin of their dad since the schools were close to his home. To facilitate the continuation of their studies, they then went to live with their brother, Angelo, in Milan. Carla gladly participated in parish initiatives, especially in the novenas in preparation for the holidays. She wanted to go to the Sisters, but her shyness prevented her from approaching spontaneously. She prayed to Our Lady and, at the end of the novena, a young Sister approached her, offered her a medal of Mary Help of Christians, and invited her to attend a meeting at the oratory. Since that Sunday, she was never missing, and a deep desire grew in her heart to become an FMA, too.

At 18, she confided this desire to her confessor, her mother, and the director of the oratory and, on September 20, 1937, she entered the Aspirantate. On January 31, 1938, in Milan, she was admitted to the Postulancy and, on August 5, to the Novitiate in Bosto di Varese. Reading the biographies of the missionaries, the desire to be a missionary grew in her. When Mother Linda Lucotti visited the Novitiate, Sr. Carla took the opportunity to express to her how much she had in her heart. So, she, having made her vows on August 6, 1940, received the obedience to go to Turin, “Mother Mazzarello” as a student, where she obtained the Professional Teaching Diploma. Her joy was great in hearing her name among those destined for the missions! On August 5, 1946, she made her perpetual profession, and, after 15 days she left for Portugal, where she remained for six years. On September 19, 1952, together with three other sisters and a young volunteer, she left for Mozambique to begin the FMA presence and to implant the Salesian charism in that land, where she lived until the end of 68 years as a missionary ad gentes.

Sr. Carla was a cheerful missionary, of contagious happiness. She was always orderly, hardworking, and disciplined in everything. She was a woman of faith and a lot of prayer. The missionary experience that most marked her was that lived in the mission of Chiúre in the north of Mozambique, where she passionately dedicated herself to the formation of girls for marriage, to teach sewing and earn an honest living with their work, and to the catechesis of young people. Many of them still remember her today because she was able to educate and prepare young people to form a Christian family. Until she was 100, she continued to sew and make clothes for poor children and to be a sacristan with love.

She spent some years as an assistant to the novices. Her presence was very incisive in the formation of the young women, with her witness and her capacity for fraternal dialogue. With her joy, she created a serene atmosphere in the community, she sang the songs of her youth and for the feasts, she created shows and always prepared with the art of an expert seamstress, the little dresses for the girls to offer to the Provincial. Her clear blue eyes showed her inner happiness.

She loved reading books, newspapers, magazines, listening to radio and TV news, and keeping the community informed about the most important events of the Church and the nation. She showed her interest in the life of the Institute and for the Salesian Charism; she had great affection for Mother General and for the Rector Major.

On August 5, 2020, she celebrated 80 years of fidelity to the Lord in the Institute. She said that she was ready to leave and was only waiting for her Guardian Angel to accompany her. Almost one month later, on September 4, she happily went to meet the Bridegroom, for whom she had been waiting for so long.

September 23, 2021 - 8:00am

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