Select your language

Madre Maria Agnese -INGLESE



Agnese Tribbioli was born in the historic center of Florence on April 20, 1879 to Ludovico Tribbioli and Clorinda Sorbi, one from Cortona (Arezzo), the other from San Martino in Freddana (Lucca). The father, who was disabled, worked at the Florentine prefecture. Due to the conditions of poverty in which the family lived, Agnese and her sisters Evelina and Maria Francesca spent a difficult childhood. In 1890 Mr. Ludovico died, leaving his wife and daughters in a painful economic situation.

In 1893 Evelina and Agnese entered the Patronage of San Giuseppe, founded in Florence in 1882 by Emma Rosadi, to begin their studies. The Institute's main purpose was to offer an educational project through festive schools aimed at girls from poor families. Agnese, in these years, together with her scholastic notions, gradually learned to appreciate the life of the tutors and to ask herself the problem of a possible religious choice in her own life. As an autobiographical manuscript documents, Tribbioli felt torn by an inner conflict: on the one hand she admired the generous dedication of the governesses to the girls entrusted to them, on the other she harbored some perplexity about the pedagogical method they put in place.

In 1897 she was co-opted by Rosadi as a knitwear teacher. On 23 January 1901 she took the habit in the Institute of the "Patronage of St. Joseph", taking the name Sister Maria Agnese. When Rosadi died on 13 September 1898, the Institute, with just fourteen members, was directed by Don Vittorio Tanini until 1908. Due to the lack of a charismatic guide, the situation worsened both due to poverty and the lack of culture and innovative ideas, according to the urgency of the times. In August 1917, Sister Maria Agnese and her sister, Sister Adriana Telai, left the languishing Institute, in the midst of the incomprehension of the religious and some exponents of the Florentine Curia. From this moment on, a difficult life began for the two escapes, in extreme poverty, full of trust in Providence.

Montughi, Grassina, Mascagnolo, San Martino ai Cipressi were the first stops in the diocese of Florence, where situations of welcome and rejection alternated, without a certainty for the future. Monsignor Paolino Tribbioli, bishop of Imola, cousin of Sister Maria Agnese, who followed the vicissitudes of the two nuns, invited them to go to his diocese. The two, accepting the request, which they considered providential, went to Romagna on 2 August 1919, passing through successive experiences: San Patrizio, September 1920, Belvedere, diocese of Imola October 1921, Castel del Rio, October 1922. In San Patrizio l Tribbioli's experience was fraught with difficulties and obstacles due to the hostile environment dominated by communists, socialists and anticlericals. The archpriest, Don Giovanni Piatesi, on August 15, 1919, blessed the new religious habit.

Difficulties of all kinds, incomprehension, loneliness and hard work laid the foundations of the nascent Institute, which enjoyed the trust and encouragement of the diocesan bishop Msgr. Tribbioli. Gradually the small number of nuns increased; new horizons of work were opened: Fiesole (1920), Belvedere (1921), Castel del Rio (1922), which became the mother house, Pistoia (1928), Sesto Imolese (1928), Foggia (1931), Stornara (1933) . Monsignor Tribbioli, in 1924, proposed the title of "Pie Operaie di San Giuseppe"; on 29 June 1927 the same bishop instituted and blessed the novitiate. In 1931 there were about thirty nuns. On July 16, 1932, Msgr. Paolino Tribbioli erected the pious association into a non-profit organization with the title of "Pious Workers of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi". On May 8, 1933, after some unsuccessful attempts, the rapprochement with the few sisters of the ancient Institute of the "Patronage of St. Joseph" took place, present and blessing Monsignor Bonardi, Vicar General of Cardinal Elia Dalla Costa.


On August 15, 1933, the long-awaited merger between the old and the new Institute took place. The following decades marked a progressive expansion of the Institute: the house of Illorai-Sassari was founded (1937). The Second World War also made its consequences felt in the houses of the Institute: on 19 August 1944 the house in Foggia was destroyed; in the following September Castel del Rio suffered considerable damage. After the war and in the following decades the houses of San Giovanni Rotondo, Monopoli (Bari), Florence, Galieno (Florence), Focette (Pisa), Staffoli (Pisa), San Martino a Farneto (Florence), Valiano (Siena) were opened, Montepulciano (Siena), Cerbaia (Florence), Dozza (Imola), Gaiba (Rovigo), Pirabello (Imola), Montecastelli (Perugia), Nughedu San Nicolò (Sassari).

The last twenty years of the Foundress's life saw the Institute gradually expand, mainly in central Italy. In 1951 Tribbioli's fifty years of religious profession were solemnly celebrated. On January 24, 1952 the Institute received diocesan recognition; the pontifical one on January 31, 1962; finally, on January 14, 1963, the civil one by the Italian government. Maria Agnese Tribbioli, consumed by fatigue, died in Florence on February 27, 1965. Buried in the cemetery of Trespiano (Florence), she was exhumed and placed in the chapel of the Generalate at no. 113 in via de 'Serragli on 3 May 2000; then, on 5 June 2008, transferred to the chapel of Casa Betania, at n. 127 in via de 'Serragli, where he still rests. The cause of beatification is in progress.

In 1979 the first house in Brazil was opened; in 1994 in India; in 2003 in Romania.