Lake Zurich – On the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence and Servants of Charity renewed their vows. It was a beautiful way for the sisters to bring the gift of themselves to the Newborn King. Fr. Fortunato celebrated Mass at Mt. St. Joseph in Lake Zurich. A modest luncheon was served after Mass.
Bangalore – The Guanella Preethi Nivas community and the parishioners began the Novena by hoisting the flag on October 14th. The inspiring words of our Founder were displayed everywhere. The Novena was conducted by the Philosophy students with great excitement. One day of the Novena was led by the Guanellian Sisters; one day the Cooperators and GLM members conducted the Novena. It was great to see how each one made efforts to make each day a different experience. The parishioners lit candles and wrote down their petitions. Everyone prayed together for these intentions.
On October 21st GPN celebrated the Feast of St. Guanella with a solemn Mass at the Tent of Love on the quote of our Founder, “It is better to be poor than to be a sinner”. Parishioners, benefactors, beneficiaries, Guanellian Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Cooperators, GLM Members and religious from other congregations participated in the Mass. Fr. Peter Sebastian was the main celebrant and Fr. Adaikalam preached the Homily. The virtues that our Founder practiced were expressed in a simple way that attracted many. The Celebration concluded by processing to the flag with lit candles and hearts aflame. Fr. Ligori lowered the flag and blessed everyone with a Relic of St. Guanella. The community was thankful for celebrating the Feast with so many faithful.
The month of November for the Catholic Church is special because the militant church commemorates its relationship with the triumphant church and the penitent church through the celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. These two celebrations remind us of the temporality and the eternity of human existence. In other words they reiterate our fundamental vocation as Christians to become holy or saintly. Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. (Mt 5,48)
This month gives us, Guanellians additional privilege and joy since we celebrate the feast of the mother of Divine Providence. It is very evident from the life of our founder that the concept of Divine Providence was very close to his heart that he named his autobiography The Ways of Providence, that he named the first institution House of Divine Providence, that he called the bulletin of that house The Divine Providence and named the sisters the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence.
In general Divine Providence would mean that God governs and directs everything and therefore the entire universe is under His control. Moreover even when things go wrong, he can straighten up the crooked designs of human beings (Saul becoming Paul, the story of Joseph in the Old Testament) and produce good out of the bad which human minds design. Personally one can think of Divine Providence in terms of his existence, his family, his education and well-being etc.
Our founder does not stop with this idea of Divine Providence as God’s intervention in one’s life. He moves further to assert that human cooperation is a must to avail this gift: “It is God who does; we are only instruments in the hands of God”. He recommended his followers to merit Divine Providence through trust, work and sacrifice. For example, he was fully convinced that Divine Providence and poverty go hand in hand: “if you want to weaken the institution, let it become rich, to live in much poverty and to entrust ourselves completely to Divine Providence is a virtue of high perfection”. Divine Providence means human charity too: when the fortunate helps the unfortunate, the haves hold up the have-nots, when the healthy accompany the crippled.
Providence does not mean looking at the roof and waiting for some treasure from nowhere, it is doing what one can in his concrete situation: “If a man limits himself to be a zero, he is nothing and will never do anything. If instead he tries to be something, he does whatever he can, he becomes a positive reality, after all he has only to ask Providence to add one zero, two zeros, three zeros to his small number and immediately the small things become large”. As members of the Divine Providence Province with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, youthfulness and vitality, let us inculcate this teaching and exhortation of our founder in our minds and hearts: you try to provide first with what you are, what you have and God will do miracles.
I wish you fruitful celebration of the feast of the Mother of Divine Providence. On behalf of the province I extend my sincere wishes and prayers to our Guanellian sisters as they bear this name. I make this special plea for your ardent prayers (both common and personal) for the good health of our confrere Rev. Fr. Bala Yesu who is under treatment.
Fr. Ronald J, SdC
How is Fr. Guanella connected with the missions? He never went to any mission country as a missionary does. Since his years in the Como Seminary, he had a soft spot, a strong desire to join PIME, and go to India or China. He even asked his Bishop to have the opportunity to fulfill his dream, but he was denied. “Your India will be here at home”, his Bishop replied. His strong missionary desire was passed on to his Religious, “The whole world is your homeland”. The first mission territory he served was Switzerland, filled with many Protestants, which was just outside of his own native place. There, he sent his priests to take care of the Italian immigrants plus the few native Catholics. A small step, but a step that became a big one when, later on, his Religious crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to bring Catholic and non-Catholic alike, the message of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Good Samaritan, to His creatures in need of faith, hope and love.
Recently his Religious even touched the ‘Solomon Islands’ in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia are now the homeland of a great number of Servants of Charity and Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. They are the fulfillment of Fr. Guanella’s dream, bringing “Bread and the Lord, to those who need them, material bread and spiritual bread.
Was Fr. Guanella a missionary? A resounding “YES” is his presence in 24 nations through his spiritual children, religious and laity. He wrote, “We are Servants of Charity, because the Charity of Jesus Christ has called us. Let us practice with fervor the works of mercy, and we will obtain the mercy of the Lord! The poor are our favored ones. They are our masters. We must work and suffer for them. Is it not what Jesus, the Divine Missionary, has done for us by His mission of Salvation?
As we celebrate 102 years since the heavenly birth of our Holy Founder, let us resolve to re-incarnate his presence, vision and mission contextually. Thus we become a border-crossing person: across cultures, religions, genders, race!
Vatluru – It was a great joy that the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence visited the boys of Guanella Karunalaya at the beginning of the school year. They encouraged the boys to study well. The students performed dances and displayed their talents. A meal was shared and the evening enjoyed. It was a memorable day for the boys. If you visit, you will also be filled with joy
Ho Chi Minh City – Guanellian Sisters, Sr. Victoria and Sr. Malini, accompanied Fr. Rathinam on his canonical visit. They stayed in our community in order to visit some missionary sisters and get some idea of how they can start their own community in Vietnam. On the final day of their visit, we went on pilgrimage to Mount Vung Tàu, about 100kms from Ho Chi Minh City. A statue called Christ the King of Vũng Tàu stands 32 meters (105 ft) high on the top of 170 meters (558 ft) Nho Mount in Vũng Tàu with Jesus extending his 18.3 meter (60 ft) long arms. The nearby Mount also has a big statue of Mother Mary. We prayed to Christ the King and Mother Mary for the success of the 20th General Chapter.
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.
Cuddalore – The Guanellian Charism School of the Divine Providence Province for 2017 was held at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Samupillai Nagar, April 3–7th. The theme of the year is “Come, Let Us Go to the Roots.” The school was inaugurated with the prayer service conducted by the minor seminarians. Thereafter the purpose and objectives of the Guanellian Study Centre and charism school was narrated and explained. It is mainly to “Know the Founder,” to “Preserve the Guanellian Tradition” and to “Live the Spirit and Charism” in our context today. The major themes that were discussed in the charism school dealt with the death of Don Guanella, Mother Marcellina Bosatta and the DSMP’s, Ven. Aurelio Bacciarini, the successors of Don Guanella and the Guanellian Mission, and the Process of Beatification and Canonization of St. Guanella. On the last day of the Charism school, there was a day of Lenten pilgrimage to our Lady of Lourdes Shrine and leisure program in the amusement park at Villiyanur, Pondicherry.
The Charism School was a memorable one for all the participants of the Province. It was an enriching program for all the young Guanellians to educate themselves deeply with the spirit of our Founder. It enabled every individual to renew and revitalize their Guanellian commitment and consecration. Finally, our thanks to the Provincial Superior and his Council for their efforts at equipping the Province with Guanellian enlightenment.
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!
Manila – Two Guanellian sisters, Sr. Mich and Sr. Tess, renewed their vows on March 19th during the Mass at Guanella Center. Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Dong Cerbito, and was concelebrated by Fr. Battista and Fr. Charlton. The good children, the whole seminary community and people living nearby were their witnesses. The two Sisters renewed their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience after three years. Sr. Nenita, local superior of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, was the one who received their vows. Fr. Charlton preached the homily and afterward had special words urging the sisters to be faithful to their vows.