Hi - wow there is such a wealth of knowledge about Italian heritage on this board, I can only hope that someone out there might be able to help me with something that has been troubling me for some time. I apologize in advance for the length of this, and for any unnecessary information I put in this post â€“ itâ€™s all to help the story along.
Where do I start? Okay - I am an Italian citizen, born in the US. My mom grew up in Milano but came to the US as a teenage and got married (which is weird in and of itself if you ask me). I always sensed some weirdness from my mom of her life back in Italy - but sort of ignored it. That is until I got engaged - to girl who is also of an Italian born mother and - gasp- a Catholic! My mother has not let me have peace since. She is very anti-catholic. In Italy, everyone in her family was Catholic - except for her mom and dad and siblings. This is where the sketchy details come in. My mom claims the family was made fun of, treated poorly for not being Catholic. She has given wavering details, sometimes saying they left the church for the one "true church" (a small denomination called church of Christ). Other times she has said they were excommunicated. She claims they were thrown in jail for not being Catholic? I'm pretty sure this did not really happen because it doesn't sound lawful at all. Any insight if this could be true? The strange part is â€“ my motherâ€™s immediate family in Italy didnâ€™t really talk to any of there other relatives in Italy and even though both of my grandparents come from very wealthy families â€“ my motherâ€™s family lived a very poor life in a tiny apartment and my grandfather juggled odd jobs. It does not appear that they received any sort of inheritance while the rest of the family inherited homes and business. My mother has always talked about my grandfather like he was the best Christian ever, such a godly and valiant man, always romanticized him. Well - I just recently found out that my grandfather molested my mom throughout her childhood!! This is so disgusting I cannot even fathom it. I am now thinking that my grandfather did something bad to get kicked out of the church and that my mom uses Catholics being mean as a scapegoat for her fathers behavior. Does anyone know of reasons why someone would be excommunicated in Italy? This is in the 1940's or 1950's in Milano. Also, the reason I am very interested in this mystery lately is this - I am wondering if it is tied into why my Nonna (who still lives in Italy) is unable to receive full medical benefits. She is in her 90's and cannot take care of herself and has a full time caretaker who is an illegal alien. My mom and aunt are paying the equivalent of $700 dollars a month for this alien's help. Why not just have my nonna get help from the government? Shouldn't she be entitled? My mom gives sketchy answers to the question. We have volunteered to pay for her flight to Italy to fill out the proper paperwork but she refuses. Is there any reason why an elderly person would be denied caretaking benefits by the government? Could it be tied into all of this mystery? Is there anyway to find out if my grandfather had a criminal record?
I thank you for reading this long post and would be endlessly grateful for any bit of insight at all that any of you might have for me. Thank you!
I can give you no advice on the legalities of state health care for your grandmother in Milan. However I can say that everyone is entitled to care, but not necessarily 'home care' as you (might) understand it. Some comunes in Italy do provide a very limited service to help the elderly and disabled in their own homes. Others don't.
State run retirement (old folks) homes especially in large cities like Milan usually have very long waiting lists for a place. They are not particularly nice, and for the elderly the lack of dignity and privacy is rarely considered by the authorites. The same can be said for many hospitals too. But don't get me wrong, the standard of medical care in both institutions is often second to none.
I have family and many friends in and around Milan, and without exception all families do their level best to allow their elderly to remain in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible - often paying for a 'live in' badante' (carer) to achieve this.
The attached link is to a current initiative within one zone in Milan to improve the lot of their elderly.
Elba - I thank you for your reply and will review the link! Thanks!!
To elaborate on my question for anyone else - My mom has worked for the Italian Vice Consulate here in the United States and seems to know the process of how to get my grandmother the care she needs, she says it will require paperwork but that it is too "emotional" and complicated for her to do.
Also - I have heard of people in Italy taking an elderly person in and hiring a bandante to help them, but that the person who takes the elderly person in received a pension from the government for doing so, and they pay the bandante out of that usually?
I apologize for any ignorance in any of my questions!
Thanks in advance!!
To respond to your other issues about excommunication, you must remember that things like divorce, use of birth control, homosexuality, illigitimacy, extramarital affairs, etc are violations of Catholic doctrine. Some Italian laws in the past reflected that and Italian social and cultural mores certainly did. Both Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Loren ran into trouble in Italy for their personal choices. Actually leaving the Catholic Church could have resulted in social shunning. Your mother could still have deep feelings of resentment for such treatment.
Some of our Italian members should be able to give you more info on whether someone could actually have been jailed for such behavior.