Mother Seraphina was born Francesca Farolfi on October 7, 1853 at Tossignano in Italy. At the age of 20, with a Certificate in Teacher’s Training, she joined the religious Congregation of the Franciscan Tertiaries of St. Elizabeth at Forli. On November 4, 1873 the young Francesca was appointed headmistress of S t. Francis School, Forli. Very soon she drafted the Rules and Regulations of St. Francis School and a Handbook for the Teachers. In 1881, Seraphina was sent to Palagnano to open a convent and school and ten years later another at Bagno. Unforeseen events caused the transfer of St. Francis School from Forli to Bertinoro and the subsequent birth of a new religious Congregation.

The clarist Franciscan Missionaries of the Most Blessed Sacrament (CFMSS)—the new Congregation founded by Mother Seraphina and Officially approved by Rome, came into being on May 1, 1898 opening branch houses in various parts of Italy and Abroad.

On February 3, 1901 four young sister set sail for India in order to serve the women and children especially destitute in the Genetic plain. They initiated their mission of Sardhana, taking care of Welfare Home for Girls. Three years later a school was opened at Meerut and another orphanage at Agra in 1912.

On May 30, 1907 four zealous missionaries sailed for Brazil the specific aim of educating the tribal people in the backwards of Minas Gerais. Itambacury (1907), Diamantina (1909) and Concecao (1910)—al home to the Xavatos, Pugixao, Bugre and other woodsmen, became the scene of the educative/ medical activities of the CFMSS.

When the earthquake of 1908 rendered many a children homeless, Seraphina opened Welfare Centers to shelter the orphan girls. Medical Care became a regular feature of the mission of the CFMSS, ever since Italy entered the First World War.

However, Seraphina’ s avowed aim was the education of the girl child. Her education policy was geared to the integral formation of the pupils with stress on character training and practical skill in fine arts and household works. She always urged the teachers to be role models for the pupils by their comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter, effective teaching methods and above all, by the example of their own upright character . She insisted, too, on the teachers “keeping themselves abreast of scientific progress, new findings and whatever can contribute to sharpen their intellect.”

Mother Seraphina—a person of frail constitution since her entry into religion passed away after a prolonged illness on June 18, 1917.

  • “Education without religion is not true education. Whoever desires to acquire knowledge should first commit himself to the study of virtue.”
  • “One of the main tasks of an educator is to study the character and abilities of every pupil, guide them tenderly on the path of truth and goodness, and fortify them against the forces of evil.”
  • “Beware that each moment spent in idleness by the student weighs upon our conscience just as the deliberate delay in promoting human development and perfection.”
  • “If we do not form ourselves thoroughly , if we do not strive after perfection daily, we can never form others.”
  • “Remember that if you do not precede your pupils on the path of virtues, your words will ring empty .”
  • “A good teacher is the soul, the treasure, the jewel of her students, of the family, of her town. On the contrary, it is a disgrace to have a depraved teacher .”
Mother Seraphina Farolfi