Divine Providence and Our Providence

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
Provincial Superior


What is our Destination? Communion with the Saints!!

We begin this month by solemnizing “All Saints Day.” The communion of saints refer to believers in the past, believers in the present, and believers in the years to come sharing a common salvation in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The nature of that communion, cited by St. John, is a fellowship with one another because it is a fellowship with the Father and with His Son.(1 John 1:3)

We read in our Constitutions number 18:“our fraternity, considered by the founder is a small communion of saints.” We have our heavenly friends in heaven especially our Founder and many other holy confreres and brothers and sisters and even our own family members. Father Louis Guanella, in establishing his missions, felt himself surrounded and helped by heavenly friends. He believed that through devotion to the saints faithful people, in particular the poor and the sick of his houses, could find an easier way to reach the Lord. In the regulations he also mentions “a host of saints were recalled to be an example and protection to the houses.”In his book, The Mountaineer he wrote, “conversation with the living and the deceased is a true school of virtues, a true comfort of the soul.”
On the second of November, we commemorate all the faithful departed and we have a practice of offering the holy Mass for the repose of the souls of deceased brothers and sisters. We cannot forget in our day life, death and eternal life. Death is not the end but the beginning. Martin Luther King said to his people “what is our prize, our destination?” It is divine life, eternal life, and life with and in God.
Do we have a clear goal in our life and a befriending attitude of our death? How can I make my life fruitful? How can my dying be not the end of fruitfulness but rather its fullest realization? How much can I still accomplish before I die or will I be a burden to others? How can my death be a gift for my loved ones, so that they can reap the fruits of my life after my death? Therefore, preparing ourselves for death is the most important task of life, at least when we believe that death is not the total dissolution of our identity but the way to its fullest revelation-“a going home experience.”
As our Daughters of St. Mary of Divine Providence are going to celebrate their 18th General Chapter beginning on November 21st with the theme, “For a creative fidelity to the charism which has been entrusted to us: in communion of life and in the search for management alternatives,” we pray and wish them to have a research on a more inculturated expression of the charism of the Founder. “Creative fidelity to the Charism” means a call to go back to “Como” that is returning to the roots in order to drink from the same spring as the Founder. At the same time, are we brave enough today to take the raw and unpopular initiatives of our Founder in new situations? Pope Francis calls all of us to “move to the peripheries.” Let us listen to the motherly tenderness of our Mother of Divine Providence “to do whatever He tells you.”

Fr. Soosai Rathinam

(Image by Ira Thomas and can be found at CatholicWorldArt.com)

Motherly Solicitude

Mother of Divine Providence 6St. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 2,11-12, exhorts “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory.” The heart of a heavenly Father procures mercy; always brings comfort to the poor and is a great consolation to the needy. Jesus’ stance before the hungry crowds was to provide the miraculous bread because He was deeply moved by compassion. Father Guanella too knew how to put himself in the shoes of his neighbor and in fact he had a heart as big as the heart of the Father- “the poor are the favorites of Divine Providence and must be at the center of our attention.”
As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Mother of Divine Providence, the principal patroness of our Congregation, I would like to underline the trust and love which were profoundly rooted in the heart of our Founder. He was attracted by the image of Our Lady of Divine Providence in the church of San Carlo ai Catinari in Rome. He never missed a visit whenever he visited Rome and spread this devotion among the residents, benefactors and among the Servants and the Daughters, whom he named after her, the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence.
Her picture visibly expresses her great charity, faith and love since she is embracing Baby Jesus, the symbol of the immense love of her toward the poor and an infinite trust in God. The people at the table did not know what they needed to maintain the joy of the marriage feast. The Blessed Mother puts herself in the middle at the marriage feast of Cana and acts as a mediatrix – not as an outsider but in her position as mother. The child cannot tell the mother its need, sickness, or pain but a mother puts herself in the place of the child and with loving arms and motherly disposition cares for the child.
Let us recognize the tenderness and motherly mediation of the Mother of Divine Providence in our ministries and offer our industrious service to the poor.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam