Sister Carmella Azzolina, 1912-2013

Born May 13. 1909, Welch, West VirginiaEntered St. Walburg Monastery,
August 17, 1934
Received habit, August 13, 1935
First Profession, August 14, 1936
Died December 8, 2013

            Sister Carmella Azzolina, OSB was born to Salvadore and Carmella (Leone) Azzolina in Welch, WV on May 13, 1909 and given the name Mary Virginia. Immigrants from Sicily, her parents were blessed with five daughters of whom Mary was oldest. In 1923 their mother died at the age of 36. A desperate father received help from a priest friend who directed him to Villa Madonna Academy, a Kentucky boarding school. There Sr. Vincentia welcomed them but could provide care only for the four older children. The youngest was placed in the care of an aunt. These were happy and memorable days for the children. Eventually Mr. Azzolina moved from West Virginia to Florida. Mary graduated in 1926 and the girls moved to Florida to be reunited with their father.
A deep love for the Benedictine Sisters drew Mary back to Kentucky in 1934 when she became a postulant at St. Walburg Monastery. Six years later her sister Joey entered the community and was given the name Sr. Samuel. Mary began her novice year in 1935 as Sr. Carmella, honoring her mother. She made first and perpetual professions in 1936 and 1939; silver, golden and diamond jubilees occurred in 1961, 1986 and 2011—the last a true 75th anniversary.
Sr. Carmella received a BA from Villa Madonna College in 1938, majoring in French and Spanish. She earned her MA in 1945 from Catholic University, and continued her education with summer classes at Kalamazoo College, MI, Laval University, Quebec, and Xavier University. Using her skills in foreign language, she became a dearly loved teacher and friend at Villa Madonna Academy where she taught for 22 years and at Holy Cross High for 27 years. Before retiring she served in library and study halls. Srs. Carmella and Samuel were a strong presence in the school and parish community until their retirement to the monastery in 2006.
The ties that existed in the Azzolina family drew relatives from far and wide to St. Walburg Monastery regularly, and, until not long ago, the two sisters to Florida and Washington. Sr. Samuel’s death began a difficult time for Sr. Carmella.
Shortly before Thanksgiving Sr. Carmella fell and was admitted to hospital. She returned to the infirmary under hospice care where her condition slowly deteriorated. She died peacefully on December 8. Surviving Sr. Carmella are her sisters, Anna McIntosh and Pauline Young, devoted nieces, nephews and friends and the Benedictine community. Her sister Julia Lovett died in 2009.
Vigil for Sister Carmella was held on Thursday, December 12, and Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, December 13.