For the first time, Cinzia and Alessandro are opening up about the intimate true story of the remarkable beginnings of the Ghirelli family legacy and their rosary vision, with the hope that this can be a witness to God’s love.
TRAGEDY FOR A DEVOTED FAMILY
Alessandro with Cinzia, at that time still his fiancée, were driving back from collecting passports to go on a personal trip to Medjugorje, when their vehicle was struck. The family was rushed to the hospital. Alessandro’s father, who had been in the car with them, fought for his life, but passed away just days later of his injuries. Cinzia, very young and engaged to Alessandro at the time, was not meant to survive. Alessandro, devastated, begged heaven for a miracle. Cinzia pulled through, and they were married a few years later. In the wake of his father’s death, Alessandro found himself the heir of his father’s fruits and vegetables produce distribution company, a business built on hope and handshakes…
SEEING BEAUTY IN UNSPEAKABLE LOSS
Only months after the tragic loss of the Ghirellis’ father, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster hit Europe. The crops and produce that Signor Ghirelli had so proudly distributed on behalf of local farmers were covered in a poisonous radiation bloom, and had to be destroyed. The effect of the loss destroyed a lifelong work. At that moment, Alessandro and Cinzia were suddenly faced with losses and debts. In their sorrow and total abandonment, Providence did not leave the young couple alone, leading them to encounter persons who would take them by the hand and lead them into the paths of God’s will. Their pillars through this time became Don Nello, a priest who had been living close to Padre Pio in the 1950s; Don Carlo, a priest with special gifts; and Sister Pia, an Augustinian cloistered nun living in a monastery in Ferrara.
“WHY DON’T YOU MAKE ROSARIES?”
Rosaries…? In this season of sorrow, their love for the prayer of the Rosary bloomed. The couple prayed together with their traditional rosary beads, called rosaries. Suddenly, one evening, to Cinzia’s surprise, Alessandro felt deeply moved that he had to create rosaries. In complete abandon to God and consecrating everything to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, they stepped out in faith, into the unknown. Animated by an inner spiritual strength, the family began manufacturing rosaries. Thousands of obstacles stood in their way, seemingly every direction they turned, yet each challenge was always mysteriously solved. They soon grasped that there was a heavenly Someone clearing their way. One thing was clear to them: their rosaries should not be simple objects, but a tribute of the Prayer of the Rosary. These rosaries would not be simple strings of beads…no…they would be works of art. By their quality and beauty, Ghirelli rosaries should have helped loving this wonderful prayer. All of this anticipated in their hearts what Saint John Paul II would go on to write many years after in the wonderful Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariæ: “The traditional aid used for the recitation of the Rosary is the set of beads. At the most superficial level, the beads often become a simple counting mechanism to mark the succession of Hail Marys. Yet they can also take on a symbolism which can give added depth to contemplation.”
They are the
A new generation of Ghirellis is now asking on their family’s empire, and they have visions of their own.