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Her mature years

Even into her old age, Elena’s story continued to be deeply intertwined with that of the Italian Catholic movement. Meanwhile, the firstFRA. groups were established, for which Elena continued to travel around the country and spared no effort without, however, allowing this to limit her other activities.

She defined the rules of the FRA with the first organisational guidelines of the Institute and began the process for recognition by the Church. This period of her life was full of hard work and great trials and her health was also beginning to suffer.

In 1927, she published The Life of Giuseppe Toniolo. Her work as a writer continued during these years and, at a time when things were becoming increasingly difficult for the Catholic press, she took on a gruelling schedule of work for the magazine, which was short of volunteer collaborators. Also in 1927, she started giving assistance to pilgrims at the Sanctuary of our Lady of the Crown, which would then continue for the next ten years, with the help of the FRA. She continued her collaboration with L’Italia and the National Bulletin for the Protection of Young Women (a publication that da Persico particularly loved and for which she held meetings abroad). The FRA became the central focus of her life, but it did not deter her from fulfilling her other commitments, in particular as regards her work in the press. The Azione Muliebre (Feminine Action) ended up in the crosshairs of the fascist Prefecture of Verona and on 22 June 1941 and was ordered to suspend publication. Publication would not resume until the end of the war.

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