The Wonderful Story of My Precious Vocation

My name is Sister Anna Zappino and I was born in Sorso, a small village by the sea, North of Sardinia. My devout and practicing parents have passed on to me a vibrant and burning faith.

My father Franceschino, a widower with 4 children, married my mother Antonietta and I am the third daughter of the second marriage. My parents, being farmers, used to go out very early in the morning and come home late at night. I grew up with my older half-sister who I was very fond of but was only thirteen when she left the family to get married. It was at that time when, being alone at home, I started to think and reflect intensely on the meaning of life even though there were so many things I could not understand.

My mother, at that time, decided to send me to a sewing and embroidery course with a good lady in the village from whom I learned many useful things for my future. In the meantime I felt a great need to pray and I often addressed my fervent prayers to the Blessed Virgin known under the title of “Noli me tollere” and whose shrine was near our house; I asked Her to help me understand God’s plan for me. I also prayed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to guide me in finding the right way. One summer, when I was 21 years old, I met Sister Marogna, a Daughter of Charity, who came home for a family visit; it was she who obtained permission from my parents to go to Turin even though they were openly against my choice of life.  

I was immediately accepted into the Postulancy and was sent to Gradinigo Hospital of Turin where I realized that God’s Presence and the help of Our Lady “Nolli me tollere” have been guiding me to do His will in all circumstances. I made a choice, my choice, for the great love I had for St. Vincent who I had dreamed about, a month before leaving home. After three months in the Postulancy, I entered the Seminary in San Salvario (Turin) on May 31, 1952.

After the Seminary I was sent to Tresnuraghes in Sardinia to serve in the Children’s School but this mission was of short duration due to health reasons. Transferred to Sassari, I resumed my studies and, after my vows, I was sent on mission to Cagliari where I obtained my diploma as a professional nurse with management functions. Since 1962 I worked in various hospitals and for thirty years I served the sick patients as St. Vincent taught us: in body and spirit, with love and tenderness, and in all circumstances, even in the most difficult ones. At Ozieri Hospital, I opened the orthopaedics ward and served the sick until I was 83 years old when I was sent back here in Sassari where I presently reside. Although I am old and my movements are now limited after having reached the age of 91 years, I thank the Lord every day for the gift of my dear vocation. I am deeply joyful and continue to participate in the mission of the Daughters of Charity, devoting much of my time to prayer, doing small services and knitting for those who are Poor together with other elderly Sisters of my Community. When we have a good amount of product, I return to Ozieri to sell it and the income that we earn is given to our poor brothers and sisters. This is how we carry on our Mission as Daughters of Charity for the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Most Blessed Virgin, Mother of our Company.

Sister Anna Zappino, Daughter of Charity Province of Sardinia