LIFE AND VIRTUES

 

Henry and Inez Casolani were married on 19 April 1944 at St. Augustine’s Church in Valletta (Malta). Henry and Inez Casolani had an only child, Cecilia Mary who became a Sister of St Joseph of the Apparition in 1964.

Henry and Inez met for the first time early in their youth. Though they loved and respected each other greatly the Will of God was ever before them. The engagement of Henry and Inez coincided with the war. They prepared for their wedding when so much was lacking. Letters from their courtship years were filled with expressions of passionate love mingled with a deep religious commitment. One could already feel their great love for God and neighbour.

Henry Casolani was born at Valletta on the 25th November 1917. Both as a child and as an adult Henry Casolani was polite, well-mannered and would never quarrel with anyone. He was a born artist yet he never boasted of this. He was already engaged with Inez when he won a scholarship to pursue his artistic studies in Italy, but he declined the offer as he did not want to be separated from Inez for such a long time.

At the start of the Second World War, Henry was seconded with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Thereafter and until he was pensioned in 1977, Henry Casolani spent a life-long career as a senior draughtsman at the Malta Public Works Department. At his work place Henry created an atmosphere filled with the spirit of the Gospel. He was most upright in his ways and was trusted by one and all. He was exceptionally virtuous, honest and unselfish. He has a great sense of humour; he was also friendly with everyone. Henry was considered by all those who knew him as an agent of peace, who was capable of building bridges among his colleagues at his work place. He regularly used to lead his friends into prayer and remind them of their religious duties.

In one of his published articles Henry Casolani wrote: A good motto is: speak no evil against anyone, but praise those who deserve it. Henry Casolani never held a grudge against anyone. He could confess that throughout his life, even from his childhood, he had never ever uttered any word against anyone. It was with kindness and affection that he treated those who were unjust with him. Whenever he went out, Henry always carried money specifically to donate to those who collected for charity or who asked for help. The daily Mass and Communion, the frequent reception of the Sacraments, the daily recourse to Our Lady particularly through the Holy Rosary, the regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament and his daily reflection on the Word of God and the life of Saints enhanced Henry Casolani?s close union with God.

Henry bore his ailments in perfect silence, never uttering the slightest word of complaint. His total surrender to God is confirmed by an outstanding and instantaneous healing of macular degeneration which, according to medical people, is scientifically inexplicable.

Henry Casolani?s life was one of uncompromising fidelity to his married vocation. His family was the world to him. According to witnesses, Henry was a saint’ ‘an apostle’ ‘a humble person’, and ‘a man of God’. Henry Casolani died on 29th December 1999. The very last words he uttered in a most clear yet imploring tone were, ‘Mother of God, have mercy on me!’

Inez Casolani née Vassallo was born at Cospicua, Malta, on the 11 th October 1915. Inez was brought up as a knowledgeable and studious girl. From a tender age she stood out for her love of prayer. She was diligent, obedient and also most sensitive to the needs of her family and the less fortunate. She was a qualified and prolific teacher. Yet, when she married Henry in 1944, she gave up her teaching profession in order to dedicate herself totally to her family. This, however, did not stop her from giving private lessons to the poor and the needy as she had oftentimes done before marriage. Inez was active in the life of the Parish community mostly through her spiritual writings. She was also an auxiliary member of the Legion of Mary and a member of the Ambassadors of Mary. She was a promoter of the Night Hour Adoration of the Holy Eucharist. Like Henry, Inez Casolani was also a Tertiary member of the Augustinian Order.

Empathy was strong in Inez. She was kind-hearted, generous and sincere; she loved and helped anyone who needed her. She used to pray sincerely for her neighbour and always gave good advice. Because of this many trusted her with their difficulties and problems and found solace in her words. Her concern was to give rather than to receive. A woman of faith she trusted God totally. In spite of difficulties, she never lost heart. Her life was a continuous prayer. God was always in her heart and on her lips. She could not and would not offend God. Inez felt that she had to give an account to God for all her actions. The daily Mass and the Family Rosary, the observance of the Sacraments and the regular practice of Christian virtues simply enhanced her deep spirituality.

Inez Casolani embraced her married vocation with zeal and dedication. Her letters to her daughter were filled with descriptions of warmth at home. Inez was always very inventive in cooking, knitting, giving recipes, writing articles and seeing to her family’s needs. She nurtured her daughter’s trust in God and trained her to lead a God-fearing life. Inez created a relaxed and happy atmosphere at home. Devoted to each other and to their daughter, Henry and Inez could still reach out lovingly to support their extended family.

In her later years, among other ailments, Inez suffered from tinnitus, arthritis, shingles in the head and severe heart trouble. Notwithstanding pain and discomfort, her smiles still radiated joy to all those who came her way. She did not fear death and was always prepared for the moment the Lord called her to Himself. Aware of the closeness of her end and in constant discomfort, she continued to give her family the totality of her love and service as she had done throughout her life.

Inez Casolani died on 13th July 1992. Her spiritual testament ‘I take record of God. In Thee I have had my earthly joy’ testifies to her total surrender to God.

Together Henry and Inez Casolani constitute a synergy of righteousness and holiness. ‘The originality of their virtue lies in the manner they harmoniously fused faith and daily events’. (Prof. Fr. Maurice Eminyan SJ)