Elsa and Aldo Antognozzi
"God's ways are endless," says a proverb. And it's true, because everything responds to a providential plan of love that the Lord weaves with the lives of each of us.
This is what happened to Elsa and Aldo Antognozzi, a christian couple from the Marche Italian Region. Elsa comes from Recanati, Aldo is from Corridonia. One day unexpectedly, the presence of Mary Most Holy appeared in the providential design of their life history, when they first met the FCIM at Lisbon airport. They were going back to Italy, after spending a few days of spirituality by the Sanctuary "Our Lady of Fatima", in Portugal.
While waiting for boarding on his plane, Aldo fixed his gaze upon a group of priests, the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: they were going back to Italy after preaching a Spiritual Retreat to their Movement’s lay members, while spending some days of prayer and silence in Fatima.
He came to them with his wife and asked for information. He was very impressed to learn about the Charism of the Family of the Immaculate Heart of Mary He was struck by the Movement’s vitality, the youthfulness of the Institute of Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and by the large number of seminarians. Above all, he came to know about the recent Mission, which had been started in Brazil, in Aracaju, in the State of Sergipe
At that time, Aldo used to work in Rome and he would spend several days a week in the Capital City, despite being based in Milan with his family. Therefore, at the end of the summer, as agreed with those priests at Lisbon airport, in mid-September he came to know the General House-Seminary of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the headquarters of FCIM. From that moment, he felt in his heart he had to do something for that reality, along with his wife, starting from the Opera that had just been born in Brazil.
Thanks to their contribution, the FCIM-Brazil Opera had the opportunity to obtain more space and land and its first major development was made, from a structural point of view. Such was the enthusiasm of Elsa and Aldo, that they dedicated their first commitment to the memory of Aldo's mother, Mrs Amneris.
Thus, the two Antognozzi spouses began to increasingly make part of the FCIM world. Shortly thereafter, they felt the desire to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and be part of this Movement. The opportunity was a Regional FCIM meeting, held in Sardinia, in Arborea, Oristano. With great joy, on that occasion, Elsa and Aldo became "Friends" of FCIM, the first step to belong to the Movement. From that moment on, their commitment to Christian life became ever more profound and intense. They began to work and support other works of FCIM, starting from the restoration of the “Cappellina della Riparotta” in Tuscany, the heart and core of all FCIM.
Aldo's commitment intensified more and more: in agreement with the President of FCIM and the Board of Directors, he worked hard to ensure that the Statutes of the FCIM were definitively approved by the ecclesiastical authority. The approval arrived on May 13, 2005, by the then Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini. On that historical date the new FCIM Board was established, of which Aldo became one of the lay councilors.
In February 2007, Aldo had the great joy of being able to personally visit the Brazilian Opera and to participate in one of the first Brazilian FCIM Regional meetings, together with ICMS Father Carlo Morelli, then General Minister and FCIM President, and ICMS Father Michele Tumbarello, the FCIM General Secretary.
In 2010 Elsa and Aldo Antognozzi undertook and supported another very important work for the FCIM: the restoration of “Casa Nuova Casciani”, also in Tuscany.
The inauguration took place on 25 March 2011: an event of Grace, emotion and satisfaction for the two spouses and for the entire FCIM Community. From that moment on, it was a great wish for Elsa and Aldo to establish a Foundation that was closely linked to the FCIM, to the development and maintenance of its works. So, after a lot of work, reflection and prayer, through the wise help and support of experts, the "Elsa and Aldo Antognozzi non-profit Foundation" was set up in 2011.
But God’s Will, we know, is often different from that of men; His thoughts and His times are not ours. On November 15, 2011, shortly after the official birth of the Foundation, which took place on October 11, 2011, God decided to bring the dear Aldo with Him. Since that day, Aldo has not ceased to help and support the Foundation and the FCIM from Heaven.
Elsa, along with her sons Alberto and Alessandro, has continued her work and her commitment to the Movement through her prayer, her discreet presence and her careful and clever suggestions.