In the 1888 encyclical Quam Aerumnosa, with the expression “la rovina delle anime” (“the ruin of the souls”) Pope Leo XIII denounced the danger for Italian emigrants abroad to lose or compromise in a foreign country their Catholic faith, their familiar customs, and their political loyalty to the Church. Although the encyclical was addressed to both the Americas, the Pope was especially concerned about the United States for being a Protestant, “modern,” and democratic nation. In this lecture, Professor Di Gioacchino will share with us some of the results of five years of research in the Vatican Apostolic Archives in Rome. He will examine the dangers that the Catholic faith of Italian immigrants faced in the US - protestant proselytism and the lack of Italian priests and churches among others – together with the solutions that the Catholic hierarchies tried to implement. The result is an inner and widely unknown story of the religious life of the Italian immigrants in our country.