Sister Laura Girotto – the founder of the Adwa mission


Laura Girotto was born in Turin in 1944, the fifth of seven children.

She attended a renowned fashion atelier until she graduated as a designer and won the competition for young “caterinette”, the romantic nickname of the tailors.
But, unexpectedly and against the advice of family and friends, she turns her back on a promising career and enters the congregation of the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco. Irrevocable decision that “gave her a life that was not easy, but very happy”.
Missionary in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Zaire, in 1993 she received the mandate for Adua, in Ethiopia: a challenge still underway, in one of the poorest and most disinherited areas in the world.

In the book “The Blue Tent”, where Niccolò d’Aquino told the story of the Mission, starting from that tent where the “pioneer” began her adventure in Ethiopia, it is described as follows:

Strong and combative character. Illnesses, so many, have never stopped her. When she decides something, it’s hard to keep up with her. As a young man she wanted to take care of tailoring in her Turin. She had started well: a good job and a first collection sold to an important house. But then came the call from the Chief, as she calls him …

Together with the sisters who followed one another, they built that miracle that is the Kidane Mehret mission.

Many national and international awards have come over the years, including:

  • in 2002 the “Feltrinelli Prize” from the Accademia dei Lincei for a work of high moral and social value .
  • the “Mimosa d’oro” award in the same year
  • mentioned by Enzo Biagi in the “History of Italy”
  • the “Paul Harris Felloship” in 2003 and 2020 by the Rotary club Bologna Valle dell’Idice and the Lions Club Diamanti Ferrara.
  • “Woman of the year” 2013 nominated by Soroptimist International Italy
  • Ignazio Silone award 2014
  • named Knight of Merit of the Italian Republic by President Sergio Mattarella in March 2016

Since the foundation of the Adwa Mission to today, Sister Laura counts on the help of the Friends of Adwa to support the projects she carries out in Ethiopia with great strength and tenacity.