Sisters credited with helping Vatican map the stars

Posted by Siobhan O'Neill Meluso
Thursday 26, May 2016 | Category:   Mission & Evangelization,Consecrated Life
Sisters of the Holy Child Mary, Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi and Luigia Panceri
Sisters of the Holy Child Mary used special microscopes to help map and catalog half a million stars for the Vatican Observatory's section of an international survey of the heavens.

Father Sabino Maffeo, S.J., assistant to the director of the Vatican Observatory, recently discovered the names of four Sisters of the Holy Child who helped map a section of the night sky that was assigned, as part of an international project, to the Vatican Observatory in 1887. Italian Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi, and Luigia Panceri helped catalog nearly half a million stars. Using photographic plates, the Vatican Observatory, along with 19 other countries, mapped the entire sky.

In 1920 Pope Benedict XV received the sisters in a private audience and gave them a gold chalice. Pope Pius XI also received the "measuring nuns" eight years later, awarding them a silver medal.

Read the full Catholic News Service story here and the Smithsonian Magazine article here.

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