And the inmates of San Vittore were her life companions, together with her Sisters, prison guards and relatives of the inmates. During the Milanese Resistance, in the dark years of the Nazi occupation, she did not hold back, going out of her way to save numerous Jews and Milanese anti-fascists from deportation. When he left prison to go to church or go shopping, he met members of the National Liberation Committee to deliver tickets or deliver comfort goods. A member of the Resistance and partisan relay girl, sister Enrichetta often hides letters and messages for prisoners in her habit. For this activity she was accused of espionage and arrested on 23 September 1944. Condemned to death, and later to confinement, freed at the end of the war, she resumed her presence beside the prisoners with her usual smile and sweet determination.
On 2 April 2011, in a letter to the diocese of Milan, the then Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi announced her beatification. And, recalling his ministry of charity at San Vittore, the Archbishop wrote: “The prison became his home, the place of his love. He said: Charity is a fire that, as it burns, loves to spread”.
Even today, the Sisters in prisons, together with volunteers, chaplains and associations, are a presence of the Church alongside prisoners to help them encounter God’s mercy and embark with them on a journey of awareness, reparation and reconciliation. They often also perform a valuable service of raising awareness of the prison world, its loneliness and pain, in schools and parishes.
On the occasion of the liturgical feast of Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri, 26 November 2023