Gianna completed the first grade
at Collo Aperto and then attended a school run by the Sisters of
Wisdom for second and
third grade. During
her last 2 years of elementary school, Gianna and her little
sister Virginia attended the “Institute of the Cannossian Mothers
of St Gotthard”, which was only a short distance from their
Gianna passed the entrance exam for “Paolo Scarpi Lyceum Secondary
School”. However she was held back a few months due to
her poor marks in physical education. Her first four years of
were uneventful. Gianna was not especially brilliant in her studies
and in her third year she was held back in Italian and Latin.
She was unable to go on vacation with her family because she
remain at home and study for her make up exams.
There was no doubt that Gianna was intelligent but she had to work
hard at it. She had her dark days but she was able to overcome these
scholastic difficulties with perseverance. Gianna always remained dedicated
to her studies because she knew that diligence was the will of God.
Her schoolwork was an instrument for her professional formation but
God always remained first and foremost in her thoughts.
The family moved to Genova-Quinto in a house by the sea. Gianna and
Virginia attended a school run by the Dorothean Sisters. Every morning,
they went to Mass in the church near their home and they studied diligently.
The Lord gave Gianna a particular beauty in her sweet and profound
gaze, which showed a gentle spirit, a pure soul, and a generous
heart, receptive to all that is good. One of Gianna’s teachers
remember her as
“She was a dear child who knew
how to arouse the sympathy and affection of
those who approached her due to the simplicity and sweetness of her character
The exquisite sensitivity of her innocent and candid soul knew
how to draw herself
the sympathy and affection of those who approached her. Her face was always
smiling, though it was sometimes veiled with a slight melancholy
which called for tenderness. I tried to read in her deep and
meek eyes the
thoughts that in those brief moments disturbed her heart but I never heard
a word of annoyance or fatique or rebellion cross her lips… The fulfillment
of her duty at home, in school, in society were for her a sacred duty.”
One of Gianna’s school companions wrote:
“Gianna had a faith so catching that all those who met her, after a short
time, felt attracted to the Church, in whose life we desired to participate
with deeper religiosity”.