Manila – The feast day of Blessed Clare Bosatta was celebrated at Holy Family, the house of the Guanellian sisters, in Fairview and attended by the priests, brothers, seminarians and sisters of the Guanellian family. The celebration began by praying the liturgy of the hours, followed by the celebration of Holy Mass. Fr. Battista, who was the main presider, focused his homily on the life of Blessed Clare and how she fervently wanted to help other people. The evening ended with a dinner shared by the Guanellian family. The real reason for the celebration was not forgotten, Blessed Clare who with humility and courage followed the ways of the Lord.
Blessed Clare Bosatta was beatified by St. John Paul II on April 21, 1991. On April 20th we celebrate her feast day. Twenty-six years ago we were delightedly surprised by the Holy Father’s decision to beatify our Sister Clare. In expectation of the celebration of the event we lived intensely a period of great enthusiasm in order to acquire a deeper knowledge of our Sister’s holiness and, as from the day of her beatification, we have certainly experienced her protection as well as her encouragement to deepen our knowledge of her message and to imitate her example.
As the years have passed, she has become ever more familiar to us and has enabled us to better understand the holiness and spirituality of St. Louis Guanella. Indeed, we might say that her beatification gave a further impetus to promoting our Founder’s canonization. There is no doubt that Blessed Clare contributed with her prayers from heaven to ensure that Fr. Guanella was declared a Saint. We know that Blessed Clare had a crucial influence on the Founder’s journey to sainthood. Still today, those who kneel before their urns at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Como cannot but receive that holy incentive to integrate hard-working charity with the contemplation of the sources from which the grace of our activity comes. May the memory of Sr. Clare’s beatification revive in all of us gratitude to the Lord for our holy origins. Faithfulness to living their spirit and putting it into practice will increase our faith and love.
Walking towards holiness together, as Fr. Guanella, Sr. Clare and all the good people of God did will reinforce communion and collaboration among the people of God. We also want to renew our commitment of spreading the devotion to Blessed Clare and to ask our Blessed for her intercession so that her holiness may be proposed to the entire Christian world with her canonization. St. Louis Guanella loved Sr. Clare. In the beginning he was puzzled by Sr. Clare’s religious life style. He had an inspiration that Sr. Clare was a mystic. Fr. Guanella was moved to intensely study the works of St. Theresa of Avila. From then on, he understood that Sr. Clare was a saint and a mystic. She was the “little flower” of Guanellian spirituality.
Fr. Guanella wrote a biography of Blessed Clare. It is available at the St. Louis Center upon request.
Prayer for the Intercession of Blessed Clare Bosatta
O Jesus, Savior of the lowly, who made Blessed Clare Bosatta shine through the spirit of sacrifice, by rendering her an untiring apostle of Your Gospel among the poor; teach us her total abandonment in Divine Providence, her love of prayer, her patience in suffering, and her spirit of dedication to the most needy. Grant us, through her intercession, the grace … that we ask you for trustingly through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be … Blessed Clare, intercede for us!
This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Blessed Clare Bosatta’s beatification in Rome. On this occasion we are launching a campaign of prayers and sacrifices for the Canonization of Blessed Clare. Through a prayer list, supported by all the Guanellian Religious and the Guanellian Cooperators we will pray to assist us in our spiritual and physical weaknesses. We invite all the people of God to join the Guanellian Family in the effort to have the Church recognize the sanctity of Blessed Clare.
We ask everyone connected to Blessed Clare, to let us know of any graces received.
Anyone can request Holy cards and biographies of Blessed Clare.
Clare was a young girl who at the young age of 29, reached the summit of sanctity, not only that which is known to God alone, as it is for the majority of Christians, but one proposed as a model for all the Church with her beatification proclaimed in Rome, by the Pope, now St. John Paul II, on April 21, 1991.
St. Louis Guanella had a strong influence on Clare’s spirituality. We can understand how his deep relationship with Sr. Clare was decisive for his experience as a Christian, priest, spiritual guide and founder.
Through the writings of Father Guanella, we feel brought to our knees and pray to obtain the mystery of Spirit that opened the road in the life of this young woman. Their relationship was a flowing conversation between two saints who poured their hearts, thoughts and prayers to each others heart.
For Graces received through the intercession of blessed Clare, or request of holy cards or Biographies, please write to:
Blessed Clare Bosatta
St. Louis Center
16195 Old US 12
Chelsea, MI 48118
Tel: 734 475 8430
Bangalore – In the special year of the Centennial celebration of the heavenly birth of St. Louis Guanella, the Guanellian family in India organized a special retreat. Guanellian fathers and sisters attended this special retreat preached by Fr. Umberto Brugnoni, the Vicar General of the Congregation, at St. Joseph Nivas August 15-20th. It was a renewal of Guanellian life and spirituality; reliving the life of the Founder according to the needs of the present day. Fr. Umberto reflected on various aspects of the Guanellian charism: the “fiery sword in the holy ministry,” Guanellian prayer, the importance of work, pray and suffer, to serve the poor and to irradiate the charity of Christ. Further, he highlighted the lives and spirituality of the first confreres and sisters: Mons. Aurelio Bacciarini, Bl. Chiara Bosatta, Bro. Giovanni Vaccari, Sr. Apollonia Bistoletti and Alessandrino Mazzucchi. The retreat activities helped participants to cherish the richness of Guanellian spirituality.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo
In my life, I have dealt with many people from all different walks of life and status. Some were highly educated and some less. Some were successful and some less. I have been an educator and I have attended a few schools. After many years, I have discovered that the key to success and happiness is the knowledge of oneself which leads to God’s knowledge if we let God help us.
Jesus began teaching the Apostles by motivating them to truly understand who they were. After the first year with Jesus, they asked him: “Jesus, teach us to pray.” At the end of the second year they begged him: “Jesus, increase our faith!” In the third year, it was: “Jesus, show us the Father!” They understood who Jesus was and who they were. On Pentecost day, they stood, ran and spread their faith in Jesus all over the world.
Father Guanella is a great model for us. At first, he did not understand Sr. Clare. He was her confessor and spiritual director. She was a mystic and he did not know anything about it. He studied St. Theresa of Avila and learned that he had a precious pearl in his hands. Both of them are saints. Later on, when Fr. Guanella became a Founder, some priests asked him to join his congregation. Some, like Bacciarini, were holy, some were alcoholics, some in trouble with chastity, some were rebels in their Diocese, some who lost their faith and others from painful backgrounds. Father Guanella accepted all who knocked at his door. Slowly and painfully, like a master sculptor, he started to change them by making them understand their inner self. Their inner self made them take wrong decisions and sometimes make bad decisions. But at the end, they became acceptable priests.
The knowledge of self is the foundation of our life. Our life is constantly trying to balance our body and our soul; but this may not be possible without self-knowledge. Often we are attracted by other people, but are spiritually and emotionally too lazy to discover our true identity. Therefore our mistakes increase and our disappointments become a collection of failures. Our daily life runs through the complete experience of ourselves: study, work, love, sport and friendship compete for the first spot, but the true scale depends on the level of self-knowledge.
Even our prayer depends on who we are if we want a relationship with God. But if we do not know who we really are, often we decide against nature, our character and even against our personal history. In prayer, for example, we should not ask for something that we would never be able to do. When we pray, we beg God; we enter into an agreement with God who is a loving Father. It brings to mind the foolish experience of Herod and Salome. Mark tells us the story. “The king said to the girl: ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you. He even swore to her: I will grant whatever you ask of me, even half of my kingdom. (Mk 6, 22-23).
We know the end of this story! The head of John the Baptist, despite Herod’s feelings, was presented on a platter. John and James, ask Jesus for a special favor, showing that they do not know anything about the kingdom of God. Mark again relates: “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left. Jesus said to them, you do not know what you are asking.” (Mk 10, 37-38).
The first thing we should ask in prayer is the understanding of our mystery, of our interior light, our qualities, and our charism. It is necessary to have a practical understanding of our habits, expectations, times of learning and attitudes. The farmer who prays for a quality harvest knows the land and its activities.
Prayer always reveals the heart of each one of us. Jesus explained to his disciples that it is always necessary to ask or answer when we pray, like we do in our every day relationships, without fooling ourselves and starting with our real means. How many times have we blown it because we did not really know what we were doing! John the Baptist can explain to his followers the nature of his role, because he knows the role of Jesus. In this way he avoids the danger of misrepresenting history.
Our relationship with God is essential and our life depends on it. Christ gave us the light to understand the Will of God. The Father is creator, redeemer and inspiration. Where there is His blessing, there is no failure. Without these truths we will fall into criticism, dissatisfaction, weakness and mediocrity. Before sending his disciples all over the world, Jesus prepared them for the Kingdom of the Father. Without the knowledge of God there is no faith. Without the knowledge of self, there is nothing to hold together our prayer with the heavenly truths.
by Fr. Joseph Rinaldo
Fr. Guanella wrote three biographies of Sr. Clare. The first two were discovered in Como in 1981, during the reorganization of the Archives of the Mother House in Como, Italy. The composition of the oldest, A Flower of Virtue Transplanted from Earth to Paradise, was presumably started shortly after the death of Sr. Clare, and was possibly completed the following year. The original is entirely hand written by the author in two pamphlets of 77 pages.
In 1907 he returned to write about his spiritual daughter and produced a more voluminous manuscript of 111 pages in four pamphlets. The twenty-two long chapters of Biographical Notes of Sr. Clare Bosatta follow the events of her life faithfully, narrated in a pleasant style, rich in content and details.
The last booklet reports the vast and detailed testimony that Fr. Guanella gave from August 8th-23rd, 1912, at the Diocesan Tribunal of Como for the process of the beatification of Sr. Clare Bosatta.
Both texts always show, though at various levels of intensity, Fr. Guanella’s strong emotional involvement. We can understand how his deep relationship with Sr. Clare was decisive for his experience as a Christian, priest, spiritual guide and founder.
The story is unique, narrated with a wealth of expressions and viewpoints. The future Blessed, the last of eleven children, was born in Pianello Lario, on May 27, 1858 and baptized Dina. She died in her hometown on April 20, 1887.
Dina was only three years old when her father Alessandro died. Her mother, Rosa Bosatta, was left with all her children. She entrusted Dina’s education to Marcellina, who was eleven years older. When Dina reached adolescence, she entered the convent of the Canossian Sisters in Gravedona to receive an adequate education.
The Sisters were happy to have her among their sisters. But the Mistress of Novices felt that she was not suitable for their institute. Back in Pianello, she was introduced to the Hospice of the Sacred Heart, started by her sister Marcellina and the parish priest, Carlo Coppini. Later on it was taken up and developed by Fr. Guanella as the first foundation of his religious congregations.
On June 28, 1878, she received the religious habit and the name Clare. In retrospect, she considered this day, after that of her first Holy Communion, “the most solemn and happiest day of her life.” The tasks entrusted to her were the care and education of little orphan girls and teaching catechism to the little girls preparing for their first Holy Communion. She also assisted the sick and elderly striving to pacify their souls and reconcile their resentments.
In 1881, Fr. Coppini died and Fr. Guanella arrived to guide the parish of Pianello. The encounter with the new priest was determinant for the spiritual growth of Sr. Clare. Soon a deep understanding between the two developed that permitted Fr. Guanella to truly recognize the soul of the woman religious. For this reason, he wrote her biography again and again and furnished his fundamental testimony in the process of her beatification.
From these documents, we detect the priest’s esteem for the young Sister, believed capable to reach a high degree of holiness, actively involved in the expansion of the institute which required difficult acts of obedience and more sacrifices. Sr. Clare guided the little expedition from Pianello to Como one night in April l886. At Como, Sr. Clare became seriously ill. She was one of the first victims of tuberculosis which spread throughout Italy. At the end of l886 Sr. Clare was brought back to Pianello, where on April 20, 1887 her earthly life came to an end.
Fr. Guanella tells that, in the last moments, the spiritual anguish “pointed like fire” that had accompanied her through her life “had considerably diminished; the weakened body would not be able to tolerate fiercer battles;” her great, definitive trust had taken over: “I will see my Lord.”
Even the physical features, of the little “martyr of penance” are delineated with grace and simplicity: “A young girl of rather small stature, thin and slender, with a transparent like appearance: the beautiful face of a little madonna, brunette with a tinge of red on her cheeks, like a vermilion veil that embellished it.”
This “angelic face” shows a personality of “great intelligence, of firm will and strong dedication, “of delicate and grateful heart.” But her main characteristic lays in the apparent contradiction between being “timid in character and at the same time decisive about things of the soul.” Certainly “the gift of tears” that comforted her and of which she was largely favored, is difficult to understand outside a mystical experience, but it makes clear the most precious side of her “sensitivity of spirit: she aspired to great things, but understood she could not reach them.”
In the complex spiritual itinerary of Sr. Clare, intense prayer, acceptance of mortification and constant sufferings are the main paths that lead her to total conformity with Jesus and urged her to the summit of Christian perfection like an eagle, as her spiritual director liked to compare her with.
Often, Fr. Guanella uses expressions of endearment, meant to trace the profile of Sr. Clare, besides the edifying idea of presenting her as a model of Christian Life. He himself the mountaineer priest, was profoundly impressed by her faith and wants everyone to know that this young girl deserves to be recognized as a saint. She was “an angel of innocence,” who lived day by day making herself “all to all.” Sr. Clare was a pure and transparent soul, “like the crystal clear water from the mountains.” She acquiescently allowed herself to be moved by the Spirit, who made “her surrender and attentive to the voice of God and of her superiors.” In one word, she lived entirely for God.
With the effective simplicity of these and other comparisons, Fr. Guanella, outlines a Sr. Clare that stands out bright and clear, highly contradictory for her human fragility but at the same time “divine” for her higher aspirations. She refines her spirit of faith; she strengthens herself, preparing for that radical detachment which will bring her to suffer the difficult experience of withdrawal and even absence on the part of God.
Grass Lake – As part of the charism of the Guanellian Mission and the Pious Union of St. Joseph, members of the local Guanellian Family gathered at the home of a cooperator suffering with cancer on September 26th. Fr. Joseph and Fr. Satheesh led a short prayer service and brought her communion. Sr. Rosemary Bell, DSMP and several members from the St. Joseph Women’s Guild were also present to pray through the intercession of Blessed Clare Bosatta. A first class relic was left in her home to assist in prayer. Please continue to pray that through the Intercession of Blessed Clare Bosatta, God’s will be done.