Nina Moscati’s unknown letter to Bartolo Longo
Sebastiano Esposito s.j.
[published in Gesù Nuovo May 2002, pp.170-172]
I unexpectedly ran into a document that deserves great attention for many reasons: it is a short, unknown letter that Giuseppe Moscati’s sister send to the Knight Bartolo Longo, and that is kept in the rich and most tidy Archives "Bartolo Longo", situaded near the Sanctuary of Pompei (1). This is what she says in her letter:
«Your Eminence Knight
human beeings can’t penetrate ways of Providence. How great our Lord is, and poor the man who has never known Him! I send to You the documents of the two favoured orphans… the poor guys are going to come soon. I already telegraphed a message to You today, and I am going to enclose the letter I received from the Sister You have already met! Please, say a little prayer for me, to the Virgin Mary, this is my only and highest desire! I really thank You for your best wishes and your infinite mercy; You may always consider my brother and me - at your disposal. We both kiss your hands, deeply affected and grateful to You, because of your good deed towards these abandoned creatures»
Our kindest regards,
Your very humble servant
Let’s begin from the date: it was the 27th July, but there is no indication about the year, which should approximately be between 1920-26, that are the tears in which Moscati took care of the Knight’s health. It was soon after Saint Ann’s Day, and Nina – who was christened Ann – thanks Mr Longo for his greetings, probably received on the occasion of her onomastic. All this shows that the close relationship and the mutual esteem between the founder of the new Pompei and the Saint Doctor of Naples also included his sister Nina.
In these few lines, without noticing it, Nina traces a sort of synthetic autobiography, or, better still, a kind of radiography of her soul, of her shining wisdom and fervent mercy. She names “poor” the one who, in spite of all the deeds ordered, inspired and guided by Providence, doesen’t know our Lord (and the tireless and extremely well-qualified teacher of religion emphasizes on the verb “to know”). Her enlightened faith always expresses itself in works of mercy. In fact, here she is looking after the poor guys’matters, by sending their documents, necessary to be accepted in Bartolo Longo’s big family. Just like her brother, Nina shows not only esteem and affection, but quite a deep reverence towards the Knight («...We both kiss your hands, deeply affected and grateful to You…»), so that she recommends herself to his prayers to the Virgin of Pompei.
Then occurs an indicative sentence that shows the nature of the relationship between Nina and her brother Giuseppe: she says to the eminent benefactor: «You may always consider my brother and me at your disposal…» ,and stresses upon the expressions “always” and “my brother and me". This is a sentence that not only confirms the well-known and close cooperation in purpose and charity between brother and sister, but also proves the deep and firm gratitude of the Saint towards her, always considered as precious assistant and, above all, as highly esteemed adviser, because of her deep christian wisdom.
In the beginning of Moscati’s narration of his journeys to Edimburg and Lourdes, we find a very significant sentence which confirms and stresses upon the benign influence his sister Nina had in his life. This is what he says: "I have been in doubt if to leave or not until the end. I was tormented by the thought of the Hospital affairs, by the infirms’ demands for medical assistance and, above all, I was retained by my eyes desease, so that I didn’t know what to do. But my sister encouraged me, and it was like if an angelic voice spoke to me".
It was the 24th July 1923– he had already reached Edimburg – when he wrote a greetings card to his sister, and he began his letter by another significant expression, coming straight from his heart, despite his usual reserve concerning his inner connection with God:
"My beloved Nina I wonder if this letter will reach you in time for your onomastic day, to tell you all that I wish you. I vowed myself – and I know that this is the purpose of your prayers right now – to a long and pious life, in order to accomplish a mission. Still, I am ready to weigh down with God’s Will. Now, I am going to go to another oratory: may God hear our prayers".
In the end, I would underline how much we owe, with regard to our knowledge about Moscati’s personality, his writings, life and biography, to his sister Nina and her shrewdness and thoughtfulness. All this events, all this history will come to its good end when Nina’s ashes will be buried just in the same Chiesa del Gesù , she designed for her beloved brother as his last refuge and laboratory of graces.