The Catholic Church Historical Experience of Providing Assistance for the Italian Immigrants at the Turn of the XIX – XX Centuries
This article analyses the growing attention of the Catholic Church to a very traumatic migration phenomenon. The massive departure of Italians for the USA is regarded as an attempt to escape famine, to avoid struggles in their homeland, and to find a better future for themselves and their families. The first representatives of the Catholic Church who were actively helping the emigrants were religious Catholic orders and their spiritual leaders and founders. They were sending missionaries to accompany emigrants during their trips, welcoming them at the arrival, and helping them to find accommodation and start a decent life. These pioneers were Vincenzo Pallotti, Giovanni Bosco, Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, Geremia Bonomelli and Francesca Cabrini. These pastors supported many emigrants, organised spiritual and social activities and established churches, schools, social centres, hospitals, orphanages, etc. Thanks to them, many emigrants were not lost, but were able to regain their dignity, social respect and status.