In 1892 Don Francesco Sacchero (from Canelli), appointed Monsignor G. Marello, founder of the Congregation of St. Joseph that arose at the Opera Pia Michelerio and later transferred to the House of St. Clare in Asti, and Don Cortona, universal heirs so that they would establish a charitable work.
The land, which belonged to Don Sacchero, located across the Belbo stream along the road from Canelli to Cassinasco, was chosen. In 1903 construction began on the boys' orphanage to which a boarding school was later added.
In 1917 the basement of the House, which was used as a theater, was requisitioned for military use. During the 1915-18 war, the Zoppa company had soup distributed to the poor and on holidays a dish with bread and wine.
Orphans decreased and Probants, that is, young people aspiring to religious life, were housed in the Canelli House: the Congregation's Superior Gymnasium was started.
In the present hall, on the second floor, was located the Chapel but soon the need was felt for a proper church that would serve not only the student priests but also the neighboring population who had considerable difficulty in reaching the parish of St. Thomas.
In 1932, with the blessing of Pope Pius XI, communicated by Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, with the approval of the Bishop of Acqui, Monsignor L. Delponte, and the parish priest of St. Thomas, Don Carlo Benazzo, the process for the construction of the church of the Sacred Heart (in Canelli better known as S. Chiara because it was desired by the Fathers of S. Giuseppe whose Mother House in Asti was located in the old convent of S. Chiara) was begun.
The first official notice was given on January 10, 1932, and Canon Prof. Alessandro Thea was given the task of preparing the project. On August 6, 1933, work began, commissioned to the firm of Carlo Torchio. Promoter and guide of the above was Father Simone Marsero, who did not see the work completed having died a month before the inauguration on June 16, 1935.
From 1947 to 1960, the religious complex, housed the Congregation's philosophical studentate and then the seat of the preparatory school.
With the increase of urban population, the need was felt to increase Canelli's parishes, and on November 27, 1977, Bishop Moiso of Acqui erected the Sacred Heart Church as a Parish.
Data source: the news and data listed above are taken from “newspapers” and documents lying in the Parish itself and in photocopy at the Municipal Library that can show more detailed information on the founders and benefactors.
Comune di Canelli
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