Sofia Cavalletti (1917 – 2011)
August 21, 1917 – August 23, 2011
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office joins with the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd USA in prayer and gratitude for the life of Sofia Cavalletti, who died peacefully surrounded by family and friends on Tuesday, August 23 at the age of 94. The Funeral Mass was celebrated on Wednesday, August 24 at S. Giovanni dei Florentini Church in Rome.
Sofia Cavalletti received her degree in Hebrew and Comparative Semitic Languages from the Universita La Sapienza in Rome. With her biblical scholarship she contributed to several editions of the Bible (Old Testament), translating Isaiah, Leviticus, Ruth, Esther, Judith and Proverbs and to international publications on biblical studies. Dr. Cavalletti is also a specialist in the field of ecumenism, especially pertaining to the Jewish-Christian relationship.
In 1954, Sofia Cavalletti, together with Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator, began to work with children after a simple experience that Cavalletti had discussing scripture with a few young children. The Good Shepherd Centre of Catechesis for children and adults was born as a place for children to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd through proclamations of scripture and in learning to read the signs and symbols of the liturgy. This work spread to five continents through lectures, seminars and courses for adults, as well as through the publications written by Dr. Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi. It is in Dr. Cavalletti’s work of more than 55 years with children from the ages of two to twelve years, that she is best known. Together with Ms. Gobbi, Dr. Cavalletti was called and inspired by the children they served to listen, observe, and deepen an understanding of children’s relationship with God. What they discovered in the children were unexpected capacities for their relationship with God. Children from very diverse geographical, social and cultural environments responded to this relationship with a profound sense of joy, which as Dr. Cavalletti writes, “…puts them in a particular state of peace such as to make us think that this relationship satisfies a vital need within children.”
Dr. Cavalletti leaves to the world an approach to the Christian formation of children from the ages of three to twelve that is theologically sound, systematic, and rich in Bible, liturgy, and sacred history. Her reverence for the Bible and liturgy, her fresh and compelling style of writing and speaking, her wise and intelligent way of discussing complicated theological themes simply, her sense of humor and personal warmth will be greatly missed by many.