St. Louis Guanella: “A Father of the Least Ones”

As we prepare to celebrate the feast of our beloved founder, it is worth contemplating his vision and sensitive heart towards the least ones in society. Even at a tender age, Guanella and his sister Catherine used to prepare “soup for the poor” which was made out of mud. Louis Guanella, when he was a boy of twelve, had heard during Mass the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” In his adolescent mind, he envisioned the Samaritan of this parable and, as a result, imagined himself as a volunteer nurse. For the young Guanella, this began his journey to spend his whole life helping the wounded people for whom no one cared. This apostolate he established would spread throughout the world with the encouragement given to his followers that “the whole world is your homeland.” Fr. Guanella waited a long time for a guiding star and “the hour of mercy.” Thus his passion blossomed for the poor and needy, who Guanella said, are nothing other than the face of God himself, veiled by suffering and discomfort. His eyes were able to see Jesus in the poor and he said: “The most abandoned of all, bring him in, sit him at your table and make him yours, because he is Jesus.”
“God is a Father, much sweeter than the best of cakes. He is a Father that cares about each one of His children, especially when they are abandoned, weak and in need.” Fr. Guanella continuously presented God as a merciful and provident Father and the certainty of being loved by God as by a tender father is the fulcrum of his filial spirituality.
Fr. Guanella led the flock with the heart of a shepherd, a shepherd who suffered for his flock, which is the most suitable form of leadership for the world today. The world is characterized by domination, power and authority. Fr. Guanella proved that happiness and wholeness can be given to the other only in becoming powerless. He perfectly followed his master, who died on the cross totally powerless and empty, thus infusing the salvific power of God into the world. By our approach, filled with mercy and compassion, let us bring Fr. Guanella alive into the world again and again. He lives forever as long as the congregation lives for the physically, socially and economically marginalized.

Fr. Soosai Rathinam


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