Our life takes inspiration from the spirituality of Sister Maria Veronica Algranati, whom we call “Nonna Susanna”. She founded the Society of gratitude in Bologna in 1946; approved by the Cardinal Nasalli Rocca, it was a community of young consecrated women, called Veronicas, who worked and prayed to support priests and their mission at the service of Redemption. As Nonna Susanna wrote, we want to be humble «Veronicas» in the Church…

«Tradition tells that a peasant woman, the one who the faithful call Veronica, seeing Our Lord walk-ing up to the Calvary, with an impetus of love, wanted to wipe His Most Holy Face with a cloth, offer-ing Him a tribute of gratitude that maybe was the humble fruit of her own handwork.  The small group of souls to whom Our Lord has inspired the “Society of gratitude” intends to renew this impetus of love and compassion of the people towards Jesus, Who is present in the priest, supporting the priests in every possible way». (Nonna Susanna)


When on the pages of the weekly paper «Women’s Life» the news appeared, all the readers were astonished: on the 3rd of September 1985 Nonna Susanna had come back to the Father’s House, peacefully and with the discretion and hiddenness that had characterized her whole life.

On the periodical she signed herself like this: Nonna Susanna, and she was so sympathetic and so rich in faith and human experience in her replies to the letters she received through the journal, that her readers had been thinking that she was actually a grandmother; looking at the pictures they found out that she was a nun instead: Suor Maria Veronica of the Holy Face, Teresa Sofia Algranati.

She was born on the 19th of December 1901 in Ancona; her parents had met and got married un-der the guidance of St. John Bosco: Cesare Algranati and Ernesta Stafferi. Teresa was the youngest of nine children: two girls and seven boys.

Her father Cesare was an accomplished journalist, one of the founders of the daily paper L’Avvenire d’Italia; in 1911 Pope St. Pius X asked him to start a weekly magazine for women which, through short stories and headings, could reach them and their families with the testimony of faith and Catholic values. This new magazine, named Women’s Life, started in 1912 and it was to become the big, humble apostolate field of Teresa Sofia, who started running it when her father died.

Unfortunately, the youngest of the Algranati family spent her childhood years far away from her mom and dad because of the difficult financial situation of her large family, supported only by the job of Cesare Algranati as a writer.

It was her maternal grandmother who raised the young Teresa; she lived in Turin during the win-ter and in Madonna dell’Olmo, close to Cuneo, during the summer season.

Sister Maria Veronica left some notebooks in which she recorded many episodes of her life and of her spiritual growth; from these writings we know many details of her childhood and the happenings that led her life in faith and in tireless service for the good of many brothers and priests.

From the tender age of three or four years, the young Teresa Sofia lived an intense and delicate re-lationship of daughterly intimacy with Child Jesus and His Mom, whom she prayed with simplicity: «I figured myself next to Our Lady and to the Angel and I kissed the holy pictures saying: “Oh Jesus, I love you so much... and Your Mom too!”».

The simplicity of her heart and the delicacy of her feelings were masterfully shaped and nourished by the priests to whom, since her young age, she had the grace to entrust her spiritual confidences: to the Blessed father Michele Rua and father Filippo Rinaldi, first successors of St. John Bosco and, as an adult, to father Umberto Maria Pasquale. Also the example and the words of her mom, a deeply faithful Catholic, and of her dad, brave defender of the Church, were very important for Teresa.  

In 1920 Teresa Sofia  started spreading awareness of the Holy Mass for the remission of sins, also called «Mass of Forgiveness». She wanted and supported this practice urged by a tragic event hap-pened in the area of Madonna dell’Olmo: a priest died in extreme poverty and desperation, as a result of the hardships.

The young Algranati loved meditating on the Holy Mass as infinite Forgiveness of God; she un-derstood that, in the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice, the Father listens to the Son Who beseeches forgiveness, reparation and peace for us. Nonna Susanna realised that during the Holy Mass we implore forgiveness from God, forgiveness that He first wants to give us, but we implore it with the divine and mysterious might of the Same Redeemer, Jesus. This deep faith guided Teresa Sofia throughout the tireless work that she did in spreading awareness of the Holy Mass of Forgiveness, which re-ceived the blessing from the then Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Nasalli Rocca, and of the Pope Pi-us XII. 

Along with the Holy Mass of Forgiveness, she brought to life the Society of Gratitude, to give thanks to the Heavenly Father for everything that He did and does for us in His infinite Mercy, and in particular to give thanks for the gift of Priesthood. This is a spirituality that Teresa Algranati spread mainly among young women, who offered to pray for priests, to thank God for the immense gift given through them to entire mankind and to help priests in every possible way. Teresa called «Veronicas» these souls who intended to serve the priests, as Veronica did to Jesus along the Way of the Cross. And looking at this woman very dear to popular tradition, the Veronicas, with sisterly and motherly gestures, want to help every priest on his way to his personal calvary, offered for the salva-tion of many brothers and sisters in union with Jesus. 

In 1932, when both her parents were already dead, she settled in Bologna, where she became the director of the weekly magazine Women’s Life, which was then circulating in the parishes for free. Through its pages she was able to reach many readers, whom she familiarly called «my granddaugh-ters», with messages of good and hope. She wrote short stories and novels, in addition to a heading in which she signed herself «Nonna Susanna», a title which remained the most known and familiar for those who knew and loved her. She privately maintained a very big correspondence with hundreds of people, silently doing a widespread work of good, solace, counsel and spreading the spirituality of the Society of Gratitude. 

When the Second World War was over, she got her degree of teaching for kindergarteners and, while continuing to run the magazine, she worked as director of the preschool in Capanne di Pisa. 

The group of «Veronicas», founded in Bologna too, had become numerous and fervent. Teresa Sofia’s project was to start small communities of two or three «Veronicas» who, as consecrated wom-en, could live in simplicity among people, in the parishes, helping the priests and spreading love and esteem for the Ministers of God among people.

But her spiritual director asked her and her two companions to wear the religious habit for obedi-ence. This saddened Teresa Sofia, because she had the inner conviction that, by doing so, «everything would have died». But she was very obedient and used to say: «I really like obeying»; so on the 8th of September 1950 she wore the religious habit and took the name of Sister Maria Veronica of the Ho-ly Face.

Her community experience started in Capanne di Pisa, where the first community lived for three years. Then they moved to Bologna, because it had become impossible for Nonna Susanna to main-tain her commitment to the magazine and to the school at the same time.  

They settled in Via Toscana, in a big house, offered to Sister Maria Veronica by her brother.

Between 1973 and 1974 the sisters who were with Grandma Susanna died; she was left alone and, by the mysterious permissions of God, couldn’t see the continuation of her work.

For ten more years, until 1985, Grandma Susanna continued what she called her «apostolate of the pen» through the pages of Women’s Life, with love and dedication.

Through the many hardships of her life she maintained a child’s heart, simple and humble, in love with Heaven and she serenely died at dawn on the 3rd of September 1985.

Grandma Susanna loved snow very much because, when she was a child, on the day of her first Communion she was filled with joy by an abundant snowfall: everything around her had become «white as the Holy Host». Contemplating the snowflakes falling from the sky, her child’s heart thought that each flake said thanks to Child Jesus for her, for the Communion she received. So at the end of her life she wanted to leave a tender message to the people who loved her, saying: «When I’ll be in Heaven I’ll send many graces as many little snow flakes... I won’t leave you orphans».