The last will and testament is a precious gift to the children. Before leaving this world, St. Guanella left us his legacy that our religious life should be deeply rooted in an intense spiritual life and in the exercise of charity. In his writings, he urged his disciples, “if we want the works of mercy to progress, we need people of prayer and many fervent souls able to endure suffering”.
We, the spiritual children of the Servants of Charity, Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, Lay Collaborators and above all thousands of poor, are admirers of St. Guanella and have an intimate touch with the joy of the Canonization event which took place two years ago. Our Founder’s heart that beat with such great affection and fatherly tenderness; his example of virtue; the wisdom of his direction and advice- are all a precious inheritance.
What does his Canonization anniversary say to us? What does his holiness and virtue mean for me personally? When we think about his holiness of life, he did not all of a sudden become a star but more like a laughing stock waiting for the “hour of mercy”. He underwent an incredible amount of rejection, hurt, misunderstandings, isolation, persecution, and suspicion from his superiors and civil authorities. He locked himself up in the sorrow of his heart and had the temptation to drop everything and leave for mission lands. He never gave way to anger and bitterness or closed his relationship with anyone but simply trusted in God’s Providence who called him and would strengthen him. The Servants of Charity must set their aim high and see to it that the institute is filled with needy persons- “good cannot be done except by ascending the fatiguing road to Calvary”. I am deeply touched by reading the most moving passage of his autobiography which speaks of the joy that God sows in his trails, “The same contradiction and adversity, whether in body or mind and heart, the good Lord converts them into a shower of gold, and the storms of the storm in many grains such as precious stones that enrich the home of the spiritual, living tabernacle of the Holy Spirit.”
The very purpose of the Congregation and the goal in our religious life is “glory to God and the salvation of our own souls and those of others”. The Founder would admonish that “more miserable is the religious who does not know how to grow in his sanctification by means of the spirit of penance” and of the often repeated phrase- “Pray and Suffer.” We have a responsible call to spread the ‘Good News’ and the gospel of charity henceforth there is no room for gossip, showing an indifferent attitude and creating confusion among us.
Let us all grow in the affinity and in the bond of Charity. We are in the Congregation and for the Congregation and by the Congregation, who is our beloved mother. St. Guanella founded and established our Congregation with an exuberant love and limitless labors and anguish. What gift do we want to present to St. Guanella for his Feast? To study, follow and transmit his spirit and to have a lively desire for perfection by uniting with his last will and testament: “Paradise, Paradise! Let us pray and hope “Providence will never, never abandon us!”