THE FOUNDATION AND THE HISTORY OF THE RELIGIOUS ORDER
On August, 10 1922, Pasquale Uva, encouraged by Monsignor Giuseppe Maria Leo, gave life to the first group of the religious order successively called Congregazione delle Ancelle della Divina Provvidenza. The Ancelle had the task of offering moral assistence to people with mental disorders who were in the Casa della Divina Provvidenza in Bisceglie, the first psychiatric hospital founded in Southern Italy and successively in the other psychiatric hospitals founded by Pasquale Uva, such as the Santa Maria Bambina Hospital in Foggia. On November, 21 1923 Monsignor Leo approved the Ancelle as Pious Association. After completion of necessary paperwork, on November, 13 1926 the Archbishop of Trani recognized the Ancelle as religious congregation. Finally on January, 24 1944 the Congregazione delle Ancelle obtained the "decreto di lode".
This image rapresents Don Pasquale Uva and the first group of Ancelle, consisting of 8 girls:
Even if their moral and religious values were really important for the rehabilitation of the people with mental problem, many of Ancelle had also a degree as nurses. Moreover Ancelle worked with many important specialized doctors.
THE COAT OF ARMS OF THE CONGREGAZIONE DELLE ANCELLE DELLA DIVINA PROVVIDENZA
The coat of arms of the Congregazione delle Ancelle della Divina Provvidenza is described in that way:
«GOLDEN, RED AT THE FLAME, MANTLED OF THE SECOND AND LOADED BY TWO BUNCHES OF GRAPES OF THE FIRST.»
(originally: «D’ORO, ALLA FIAMMA DI ROSSO, MANTELLATO DEL SECONDO E CARICATO DA DUE GRAPPOLI D’UVA DEL PRIMO»).
The FLAME, symbolizing life, heat and light, became in the coat of arm the symbol of charity that guides the Congregazione delle Ancelle della Divina Provvidenza in the works of mercy in favour of people with mental diseases. The flame is located at the centre of the coat of arm meaning that the charity is the most important value in the Congregazione. GRAPES remember the name of the founder Pasquale Uva and symbolize the richness of moral and religious values of the Congregazione. Below, the motto of S. Paul “ Charitas Christi urget nos” (II Cor. 5,14), chosen by Pasquale Uva, represents how the Congregazione of the Ancelle della Divina Provvidenza works.
Ancelle's work is still today the heart of the assistance to people with mental diseases in collaboration with professional figure belonging to medical field in the Hospitals belonging to Opera Don Uva.
Some images representing the Ancelle at work:
- For more informations see: http://www.ancelleinrete.it
- Salvatore Garofalo, La più difficile carità. Il servo di Dio Don Pasquale Uva, Litonova, Gorle (BG) 1995
- Nicola Gori, La fantasia della carità, Edizioni San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo 2010