Chennai – Come away to a Deserted Place by yourselves and rest for a while,” Mk: 6:31. According to St. Louis Guanella, “The enrichment of one’s consecrated life is met through diagnosing the health of body, mind and soul through ‘annual spiritual exercises’, and it is a promising Way to Holiness”. Therefore, the Divine Providence Province offered the Annual Spiritual Exercises ‘17 for all priestly confreres in order to enrich their Religious Consecration. So that all confreres could participate, the Retreat was held on two different occasions. It was the choice of the confreres and the decision of superiors to shuffle their members according to the needs and requirements of the community. The preachers were Fr. Jesu, SVD; and Fr. Soosairaj, SJ. The retreat created a suitable ambience to rest in God, renew the soul in the Holy Spirit and project for a better religious life.
Bangalore – Recollection is a time to build up our personality and spirituality. Individuality is assembled with all the little pieces collected from the past and through in depth spiritual reflection. Therefore, the past can help us to bring changes in our lives for the spiritual enrichment. The body and soul are inseparably united, the purification of which is essentially demanded of us as Christians. While the inner spirit is revived, both soul and body are cleansed of all stains of sin. To achieve this goal, St. Guanella Mercy Church planned a Recollection on April 2nd for the Guanellian Lay Movement and parishioners. Fr. Benson, SdC, was invited as preacher, motivating the group with his Spiritual sessions by making them realize their journey of life and prompted each to come closer to God. During Eucharistic Adoration in a special way people praised and thanked God. Meanwhile, they were meditating and preparing themselves for Confession, the most important Spiritual activity to prepare them for Holy Week and peaceful participation in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord. The day ended with the solemn Eucharistic Mass celebrated by Fr. Gnanraj, Rector and Superior of the GPN Community. The faithful had a fruitful experience through this Spiritual event.
Chennai – The Divine Providence Province in India inaugurated a Structured Guanellian Study Center March 3rd. During the inaugural ceremony Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior, narrated the significance and benefits of the center in India. He also exhorted the confreres and young scholastics to educate themselves and to infuse their lives with the spirit of the Founder. Fr. Francis, coordinator of the Center, explained the purpose and objectives: to know the Founder, to preserve Guanellian traditions and to live the spirit and charism in our Context today. To memorialize the inauguration, a precious manuscript of our Holy Founder was presented by Fr. Fabio Pallota from Spain to be archived at Guanellian Study Center, India.
The month of May is a season of growth, when nature is reborn. It is the time when the earth bursts forth fresh foliage and green grass after the stern frost and snow of winter; the raw atmosphere; the wild wind and rain of the early spring; it is the season when the blossoms are upon the trees and the flowers are in the gardens. It is the time when the days get long, the sun rises early and sets late. With such gladness and joyousness of nature, it is so fitting for our Mother Church to make this month a special and significant season of renewal and rejuvenation for her faithful through devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary who is the pure threshold of divine relationship.
God willed both: to reveal Himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome the revelation in faith. The desire to know and love God is a gift. It is a reflection of the mystery of the divine relationship of the Holy Trinity, a divine communion of persons. The uncreated Persons of the Trinity willed to make communion with the human, the created persons of their image and likeness. After countless covenantal promises and break-ups, finally they found a holy threshold, the ‘Blessed Virgin Mary’, to renew and re-erect the imperishable pillar of relationship with humanity through the great event ‘Incarnation’. Mary’s beauty is known in her fiat and total Amen. She is referred to as a “Woman of Assent and the Memory of the Church”.
St. John Paul II so beautifully named Mary the ‘Memory of the Church.’ The Church, as Mary, is Virgin and Mother. She is the model, the mother, and the personal summa of the Church. Mary’s fiat is the nexus whereby all mankind is able to give consent to the influx of the communion of the Trinity. Time and eternity hinged on this maiden’s ‘Yes’ to the communion of grace and holiness, which made her the ‘Woman of Assent.’ She is also the ‘fullness of grace’ that is the plenitude of Trinitarian communion. She is the daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
Understanding these divine privileges in the life of blessed mother Mary, St. Louis Guanella surrendered both of his Congregations unto her care and protection. He initiated all his religious ministries upon his strong trust in the Providence of God and unshakable devotion to the Mother of Divine Providence, Blessed Mary. Enjoying her motherly kindness and guidance, St. Louis Guanella has beautifully written a book dedicated to her ‘In the Month of Flowers.’ In his writing he has strongly exhorted his followers ‘to adorn ourselves with the holy virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to embrace her footsteps to enjoy divine communion with the Holy Trinity.
Fr. Guanella had strong affection and disposition towards Mary. Sharing the same family spirit and devotion, we also need to frame our religious life upon the style and surrender of Mary. As we happily prepare to celebrate the priestly ordination anniversary day of our holy Founder, it is more fitting for us to imbibe the spiritual nourishments of our founder for our holy priesthood. Our priestly life based on the virtues of Blessed Virgin Mary would be the most precious gift and honor for him. If our mere life would become a convincing witness and message, than our words as that of our Founder.
May is normally part of the Easter season, the period of fifty days which lasts from Easter to Pentecost. The Easter season is a fitting time to recall Mary’s immense joy over her Son’s Resurrection and to rediscover her role as mother and teacher in our lives. Mary has a unique role in God’s plan of salvation and in the Church. She consented to the coming of the Savior and cooperated in developing His mission. She brought Him into the world, raised Him and lovingly stood by His side during the years of His hidden life. She supported Him during His public ministry in a quiet way, beginning at Cana, where by her intercession Jesus performed His first miracle. She cooperated in His work, even uniting her own suffering with that of her Son, standing at the foot of His cross. Mary was Jesus’ first disciple, humbly following Him during every step of His journey and mission. She trusted in God completely and lived by His grace. She is our model of true discipleship and of complete faith.
The Blessed Virgin Mary offered the disciples her prayers, motherly care, and witness. She continues to offer us her motherly love and intercession. During this month of May, let us rediscover her maternal role in each of our lives. Let us offer our spiritual mother our sincere prayers, that just as she aided the first Apostles with her prayers, she may also guide and intercede for us in our journey of faith. Let us learn from her how to love and trust God completely and how to be faithful witnesses of the Risen Lord.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
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.
Chennai – The Divine Providence Province in India had the joy and privilege to spend quality time with the members of ASCI, the charitable movement from Italy. The representatives were Mr. Eduardo and Ms. Maura. During their trip they visited all the mission stations of our Guanellian family in India. After the fraternal visit, they expressed their sentiments,
“We actually see the inspired Guanellian charism, imitated love of Christ, witnessed Guanellian service amidst the poor and suffering of society such as abandoned children, orphans, disabled “good children”, and the elderly. The image of love and mercy that St. Guanella generated for the poor brethren is represented. In spite of extreme poverty the respect for human life is marvelous. The young Guanellian family in India including priests, sisters, brothers, seminarians, benefactors, beneficiaries and all the other Guanellian members, is really deep rooted in its faith, apostolate and evangelization in accordance with modernity.”
Having expressed this, they expressed gratitude for all the hospitality prepared by the province. They also assured their spiritual and manual assistance of any projects of charity to the poor.
On March 15th during a meeting at the St.Trudpert Abbey in Münstertal, we celebrated the 80th birthday and 50 years of Religious Profession of the Pious Union Director, Sister Bernita A generous donation for our Good Samaritan Pharmacy has been transferred to Brother Mauro in Manila as a result. With these funds, he’ll be able to purchase more life saving medicine. Just this week a young boy was successfully treated; thanks also to continuous support of the Pious Union and two German doctors he survived the complicated operation.
On March 16th we paid a visit to the bishop’s office in Freiburg to hand over a formal request for financial sponsorship of the 26 Indian and 4 Filipino Theology Students.
Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure.
Water…Water…Water…Unseen drought and water scarcity in the last 125 years in India! Cauvery Delta has become a cursed area of dry land..sudden death and suicides of farmers…families in tears and frustration…farmers threatened by loan-givers, pushed to shame and disgrace…Insensitive rulers who are prepared to sell water-resources to multinational companies depriving the native poor of their right to have access to water… still pathetic the Church, the Body of Christ, especially the Urban and institution-filled Church considers this problem as the problem not pertaining to it…No water…thirst, thirst…everywhere. Land is thirsty, animals domestic and wild are thirsty… and this Good Friday, the Church once again preaches on the last words of Jesus on the cross, ‘I THIRST.’
It is very simple to give a spiritual explanation for the words of Jesus, I Thirst. His thirst was for the Kingdom which would imply a community built on brotherhood, fellowship and unity. Sensitivity is the basic aptitude lying below these humanitarian values. Is it possible for us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Jesus while a part of this mystical body is moving towards abandonment, alienation and death? Jesus could rise again and resurrection was possible for Him, as He was able to relive the abandonment of the poor Israelite, “Why did you abandon me?” Identification with the poor, reliving the miseries of the miserable, undergoing the atrocities of the unjust along with those who were persecuted for the sake of justice…were the unmistaken means of His exaltation….He could be exalted to the right hand of the Father only because he was at the right and left of other crucified men! The piercing of His side with the flow of water and blood was the last means of satisfying His thirst for God’s kingdom here on earth.
During Lent, during Holy Week, and especially on Good Friday, are we going to thirst … thirst for identification with those who are thirsty, literally begging for sustenance, food, water …to live a few more years on this earth. Can we be satisfied with the streams of water gushing from His side while we are not prepared to spare our fellow-men, the members of the mystical body of Christ, to quench their thirst? It is time for us to think what we must do collectively and individually for these thirsty parts of humankind if only we would celebrate the joy of the gushing waters…the Resurrection!
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
E. Providence – Catholic Schools Week was a fun-filled week at Sacred Heart School. We had Crazy Hair Day, Pajama Day, Principal, Teacher, & Pastor Appreciation Days, and ended the week with a Mass celebrated by our Principal, Fr. Peter. One of the highlights of the week was a volleyball game where the Faculty/Staff/PTO plays the 8th grade. It was a close game but the 8th graders won!
Manila– Consecrated men and women are God’s gift to the Church. On February 26th the Juniors- Seminarians Forum; an organization of simple professed religious in the Philippines, conducted its 31st anniversary at San Sebastian College Recoletos in Manila. As part of the local church, the Guanellian professed brothers and Fr. Battista, SdC attended this event. The assembly gave a chance for every participant to encounter various religious congregations present in the Philippines. More than two hundred temporarily professed religious showed their support and vibrant participation.