Photo of an old missal next to government documents written in Italian and small photos of a woman and child.
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Story by Sandra Bowden

Little Rock, AR

This Italian Catholic missal dated 1887 was given to my maternal Italian grandfather, Enrico Orsenigo, by his mother as he left his homeland of Lecco, Italy, heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to start a new life after WWI.

It was one of his most treasured possessions and one of very few belongings he was able to bring with him on his courageous journey. The memories that this missal stir in me and my family are of unmeasurable pride and appreciation for the sacrifices that he and my maternal Polish grandmother made to embark on a new future in a foreign country.

I vividly remember as a child walking with my grandparents to church with this missal in hand and hearing them share the experiences, oral traditions, and uplifting stories of their lives. Stories that will hopefully continue to be passed on to newer generations.


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