Canossian alumni, vounteers and friends pose for a photo with a statue of St Magdalene of Canossa at the Verona Mother House Convent.

The Canossian Alumni Association (CAA) organised its first ever Canossian learning journey to Italy from May 20 to June 2.

Led by Canossian Sr Cecily Pavri, the trip, named “In the Footsteps of our Canossian Saints”, was designed to trace the life journeys of St Magdalene of Canossa, foundress of the Canossian Daughters of Charity, and St Josephine Bakhita, a
Sudanese slave who became the first ever African Canossian nun.

Made up of alumni members and Canossian volunteers and friends, the group of 33 visited the cities of Verona, Venice, Florence, Padua, Assisi and Rome, with a day at St Peter’s Basilica for a papal audience.

Highlights of the trip included visiting the Canossa Palace and the Canossa family summer villa in Grezzano – places where St Magdalene lived in her youth.

In Venice, they visited the baptismal font of St Bakhita.

En route from Florence to Assisi, the group stopped over at the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua. While in Assisi, they also had a half-day retreat in La Verna where St Francis of Assisi received his stigmata.

The group also visited St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Canossian Srs Jane Chong (left) and Yoko Maria Kiyota (from Japan) at the​ ​baptismal font of St Bakhita in Venice.

Towards the end of their trip, the group stayed in the Ospitalita Bakhita in Ottavia near Rome, which is also the Canossian Provincial House. There, they had a night of recreation with the Sisters and met Sr Annamaria Babbini, mother general of the Canossian Sisters.

Recollecting the trip, Ms Maryanne Lim shared that she was moved by the story of St Bakhita – how she was tortured as a young girl. “I was touched by her action to forgive her enemies,” she said.

Ms Adeline Foo said that “the introduction to the lives of the saints gave me new insights into my faith.”

Over the past two decades, such trips were organised only for principals and educators in the Canossian schools.

Ms Veronica Tan, president of the CAA, shared that the alumni decided to organise this trip because “the faith and footsteps of our Canossian saints had impacted thousands of students like us half the world away.”

This trip reinforced “our school values and reminds us to keep the Canossian charism and spirituality alive,” she added.

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