The surname given to this infant, 'Venerdi',
was typical of the made-up names
imposed on foundlings. In
Sicilian, 'Venerdi' means 'Friday'.
But there is more to this: the first name
she was given was 'Santa', which
means 'Holy'. A check of
the days of the week in the year 1881
shows that the day on which this child
was born, 15 April, was a Friday.
Not only that, but Easter in 1881 fell
on Sunday, 17 April. In Sicily,
what we call 'Good Friday' is called
'Holy Friday', which in Sicilian is
'Santa Venerdi'. So this
foundling carried as her name the exact
day on which she was born: Good
Note that Santa was not
actually left on a doorstep, the street or in a wheel, but
was delivered by Girolama Danile from "una donna che non
consente essere nominata" - "a woman who does not
consent to be named", and neither was a father named.
Even though Girolama obviously knew the
identity of the woman giving birth, the infant's mother was officially unknown, as was
the father. The child was then given the concocted name
Santa Venerdi, castoff, and
consigned to a foundling home.
Santa Venerdi survived the vicissitudes of the
foundling home, emigrated to America,
married Lorenzo Scaglilla and raised a