Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC

As India prepares to solemnly celebrate its 67th Independence Day in a grand manner, filling each and every citizen of the country with pride; let us take a moment to consider the current state of the world. We continue to advance in technology, scientific research, space exploration, reproductive technology, the accumulation of weapons, nuclear arms race, missile race and launching satellites into space for various reasons. There is excessive use of mass media communications via the internet and cloud technology. People die every day as a result of natural calamities such as floods, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes and so on. There is a degradation of the moral identity of human beings, their image and likeness to God is thrown into the dust bin because many treat others as sub-human beings. Equality, fraternity and justice has lost its flavor; sadism, cruelty, assassination, murder, rape, terrorism, hijacking and other malpractices have the “ball in their own court” and people are flocking towards it.

At this juncture, our beloved pope, in his first encyclical letter Lumen Fidei, says, “Only love can strengthen our faith. Our hearts are imprisoned, our human minds are corrupted, our emotions are massacred and humaneness is broken, so it is the appropriate time to have a freedom of heart as St. Paul said beautifully, “let us bear one another’s burden because we have come to fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6,2).

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin MaryHoly Mother Church rejoices with the celebration of the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who conquered the world by her love, simplicity and total surrender to the will of God. That’s why she was taken up to heaven with her body and soul. Therefore, our beloved mother teaches us to choose freedom of heart in order to orient ourselves fully and absolutely to broken humanity and our founder would say to “Those who cry, ‘I have no one,’” let us turn our hearts as a beacon to radiate the light of faith and to show love in fullness to broken humanity. This is the gift we offer to the whole world which is in an arms race rather than the race of love. “Let us have one heart and one mind” (Acts 4,32) to resolve the annihilating methods of mind and to have the heart of love which led the freedom fighters of India to shed their blood for India’s independence and the love of Mary who watched her son shed his blood on the cross to redeem us from the slavery of sin. Let us come out of our “locked-up” mentality and become universal lovers.

My heartfelt wishes go to the 12 New Evangelizers from the Divine Providence Province who will be ordained on August 6th! What a blessing while, at the same time, a great responsibility! “It is good for us to be here”- the awesome experience of the disciples! There is hope for all of us as God has promised his abiding presence. Thus, we have the assurance in Jesus Christ that the twelve will become Holy and Humble Priests in the vineyard of the Lord!


The Long Journey from Naro to Pforzheim Ends after 65 years!

Thre Guanellians in downtown Pforzheim

It was a sunny day on September 1, 1948 when a young aspirant, Gero Lombardo, was introducted to former Father General Luigi Alippi. He was happy to greet this first young Sicilian boy who had asked to enter the Guanellian seminary, and since that day, many goals have been achieved. However, back then no one could have imagined that he alone would bring the Guanellians to Germany; those funny priests who had arrived only months before in his beloved Sicily. Now this long difficult journey has come to an end, and why the Lord linked Gero to His wise plan is now clear. Although he would not become a priest, he remained deeply commited to the ideals he was taught as a Guanellian seminarian.

Today’s story unfolds with Father Luigi DiGiambattista accompanying Fr. Baniak, SdC from Krakow to Germany. Before their arrival, Mother Inge Lombardo worked tirelessly to make a positive first impression for the German culture. Her patient, attentive dedication made the task possible. She did a good job, meriting the gratitude of many Guanellians who enjoyed her hospitality during the preparations. After visiting Dean Ihle an inspection took place of the flat at St. Josef House in downtown Pforzheim, the official residence of the German Guanellian community.

On Sunday, June 30th our confreres concelebrated Holy Mass for the Mother General of the Daughters of St. Josef and two parish priests. After Mass Fr. Luigi presented them each with a blessed medallion in gratitude for their long relationship with the Pious Union in Rome. Gero then took the opportunity to thank the nuns for the work at their hospital in Pforzheim, where many Italian children were born, including his dear son Fabio! The group proposed to their Mother General a closer relationship between the SdC and the DSJ in India, where they are present at Kerala, TN, AP.

The next day the group travelled to the St.Trudpert Abbey, home of the German Pious Union since 1919. There are more than 100,000 members, significantly more than Gero‘s earlier estimate of 15,000. Provincial Mother Germana and Sr. Bernita, director of GPU, and Sister Emmanuela, well known among the Italians of Pforzheim because of her 25 years of service at the Catholic Hospital of St.Trudpert welcomed us. Superior Msgr. Eric Hensler also welcomed our confreres during a short meeting after dinner.

On July 1st the group met with Vicar Bishop Klug and introduced Fr. Baniak before beginning his full immersion in the German language. Bishop Klug invited them to discuss the accomodations for both confreres at the MCI Pforzheim and their residence at St. Joseph house. Bishop Klug then made a generous promise to finance the purchase of all needed furniture in the religious residence!

A week later the group picked up Fr. Antonyraj from Stuttgart and gave him a quick tour of his future Pforzheim home. He was happy to stay at the Guanella House in our small town and enjoyed the warm Italian welcome for the night. On July 10th we accompaned him to Freiburg to meet the bishop’s secretary, Deacon Roth, at Borremaeum College to initiate his six month German language course. We visited the famous Freiburg cathedral with Fr. Baniak, Deacon Roth and Fr. Arokiadoss, and then returned home; mission accomplished! Thanks be to God and to the Blessed Mother, our Patroness of Holy Providence. We were filled with joy and gratitude. Now with united forces we can accomplish more from Old Germany! Viribus Unitis fortior sind!

Despite the intensive work involved in organizing all these steps, we have not forgotten the pending projects that the Procure proposed to our benefactors. Those in the Philippines seem to have been approved: PT Manila and Nourishment Program Legapzi. Frs. Viray and Omodei will receive official confirmation shortly. We also hope that both the Sivaganai van and Vatluru kitchen will receive generous donations. Two projects in „Mother Africa“ Kinshasa for Children Aids Prevention and a van will be accepted with great joy by our tireless Brother Mauro and the Lemba community.

May God continue to bless all our mentors in Germany as well as our Curia in Rome and of all our

brothers on the front lines of charity in Philippines, India, Vietnam and Africa!

Gero Lombardo GGP

Guanellian Journey to GermanyGuanellian Journey to Germany

Memorial Mass for Fr. Thanasekar

Fr. Thanasekar and youth

Fr. Thanasekar and youth

Vatluru – The memorial mass for the departed soul of beloved Rev. Fr. Thanasekar, the first Guanellian parish priest in Vatluru, was held on June 20th. Around 30 priests were present for the celebration including Rev. Fr. Bosco Rajendra, Chancellor of the diocese, and the newly ordained diocesan priests. Many lay people attended to show devotion for their beloved priest. Choir members sang liturgical songs from ‘Anveshana Neeve,’ the Telugu Version of ‘Een Thedal Nee,’ a devotional album released by Fr. Thanasekar commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the Guanellian Parish in Cuddalore. Fr. Peter Joseph and the community had arranged the entire celebration including the agape meal.

From Germany to Remote Tents of Charity

waves crashing on a rocky coast

waves crashing  on a rocky coastOur confreres at the ‘front’ of our missions and evangelization are the real heroes of our humanity, because they save innocents from famine, illness, abandonment and sin. During a recent trip to Italy, I enjoyed a common scene; three seagulls landing on a rocky cliff, with one daring a risky pirouette on a white foamy wave. At that moment, I thanked God for this metaphor of our long dream, as the birds seemed to interpret my thoughts. In July three confreres will finally arrive in Germany, as we accompany Fathers Baniak and Arokiadoss to Freiburg to begin their six month German language course. Our procure has matured after five years of effort, having finally realized ‘Project Germany.’ We will now don our wings and fly to other countries where, with God’s grace, we will pray for quick decisions.
For nearly five years, we have been negotiating the possibility of opening a center for the disabled in the Arab Emirates. In Abu Dhabi, I have been meeting with Fr. Gandolf Wild and Faris Al Mazroui, while in 2012 we visited the other Emirates, where building costs are lower and the Salesian institutions are present. The Anglican Bishop of RAK has encouraged me to actively press for the fulfillment of such an urgently needed center, and after intensive negotiations with the General Council, Fr. Luigi DeGiambattista has hinted that Bishop Paul Hinder might consider the presence of the SdC in that country. We can count on several sources of financial support, as half a million Christians and more than 300,000 Catholic expatriates from the Philippines and India live in this country. At least 5,000 disabled children and elderly would benefit from such a blessing. Fr. Gandolf is a friend of our congregation from his long stay in Rome and he updates us often with new events in their large territory. Recently on June 14th, a majestic Church was blessed and inaugurated at the RAK capital with the participation of Cardinal Fernando Filoni and the apostolic Nuncio, Petar Rajic. Emir al Qassimi also honored us with his presence. I have invited Fr Luigi to accompany Inge and I on a possible exploratory mission this fall, to provide our General Council with an objective evaluation of the needs, means and potentiality of vocation promotion among our many Catholics.
Our next target is Tanzania. Fr. Paul Oggioni visited a disabled center in Mbeya in 2010 when he visited a young priest who had shown interest in joining our congregation. After a bumpy start, Fr. Furaha has approached our procure seeking financial support. He and Sister Mary take care of about 40 disabled boys and girls, and in front of the main building they already grow a small garden with vegetables and orchards. He needs a donation of 4,000€ for building a poultry and pig farm. The egg and meat sales would also help with the center’s operating costs, and the project has been submitted to Kindermission and Bankers Sparkasse Pforzheim.
Since St. Guanella has now established himself in West Africa, this potential new tent would cover a larger area in Tanzania, where about half a million Indians are living. My friend Julius Makundi, a businessman in Dar es Salam, will support our efforts in this project if Fr. Furaha and other priests decide to enter our congregation.
May our holy Founder and the Lord link our small steps for His glory and the benefit of our suffering brothers. The whole world will become our homeland!

Gero Lombardo,  German Guanellian Procura

Mission Extension

Priests bless the work of the land in Madurai, India

Priests bless the work of the land in Madurai, IndiaMadurai – A Guanellian presence was firmly at ‘Soosai Thottam’ on April 12th. Fr. Visuvasam, the Provincial Councillor, laid the foundation stone to officially begin the Guanellian mission. The local ordinary, Fr. Cyprian of Nagamalai Pudukottai blessed the foundation work. Fr. Gnanaraj, Fr. John Doss and Fr. Lawrence joined the ceremony. It is a small sign for the Tent of Charity for the homeless and those who say, “I have no one.”

New Assignments for the Divine Providence Province 2013-14

Fr. A. John Bosco                 Superior of Kumbakonam and Parish Priest of our Lady of Divine Providence Church

Fr. C. Alphonse M. Ligory               Superior of Thalavadi Community

Fr. M. Peter Sebastian      Superior of the Vatluru Community and Guanella Karunalaya Director- Andhra

Fr. S. P. Visuwasam                            Superior of Cuddalore Community and Director of Don Guanella Boys Home

Fr. A. Kulandaisamy                          Superior of Sivagangai Community and Formator of the Postulants

Fr. J. Samson Rajasegaran             Superior of Chennai Community and Rector of DGMS

Fr. R. Gnanaraj                      Superior of Bangalore GPN and Rector of the Philosophate

Fr. A. Adaikalam                  Master of Novices, 1st Councilor -Bangalore GPN

Fr. M. John Paul                    Parish Priest of St. Antony the Hermit Church, Kallathupatti Parish, Dindigul

Fr. P. Peter Joseph                              Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Parish, Vatluru, AP and Councilor of Vatluru Community

Fr. S. John Dass                     Director of the Mission in Madurai, 1st Councilor in Sivagangai Community

Fr. R. Lawrence Thambu                In charge of Madurai land development Project and Treasurer & Councilor of Sivangangai Community

Fr.  P. Paul Raj                                       Director of the Mission in Guanella Anbagam and Councilor in Sivagangai Community

Fr. D. Chandra Navis                         Guanella Center Program Director & Councilor in Quezon City Community, Philippines

Fr.  J. David Jayaraj                             Don Guanella Aged Home Director and GPN Community Councilor

Fr. X. Sahaya Rajesh                          1st Councilor and Vice-Rector in DGMS, Chennai

Fr. S. Antony Lourduraj  Director of Don Guanella Rehabilitation Center & Councilor in DGMS community

Fr. M. Dominic Baskar     Treasurer of the DGMS community and Councilor

Fr. C. Lourduraj                    Vocation Promoter and in charge of Youth ministry & Councilor in Cuddalore Community

Fr. I. George Vinsula                         Assistant Director of Don Guanella Boys Home & Councilor in Cuddalore Community

Fr. A. Pravin Vinoth Raj  Formator of Guanella Bhavan and Vatluru Community Councilor

Fr. A. Arul Raj        Treasurer of Guanella Bhavan and Vatluru Community Councilor

Fr. A. John Peter   Assistant Director of Guanella Karunalaya and Treasurer and Councilor of the Vatluru Community

Fr. A. Kanikkai Raj                             1st Councilor and Assistant Director in Thalavadi

Fr. A. Kuriakose                   St. Joseph Roman Province ministry for 3 years

Fr. A. Maria Arokiadoss  Mission Procura in Germany

Fr. M. Praveen Jeba Kumar           St. Joseph Roman Province ministry for 3 years

Fr. A. Louis Baskar                             Provincia Santa Cruz, Brazil ministry for 3 years

Fr.  James Stanly Babu     Licentiate Studies in Rome

Fr. Fortunato Turati         Chaplain for DSMP at Mt. St Joseph – Lake Zurich, IL

Fr. Satheesh Caniton        Vocation Promoter at Pious Union of St. Joseph – Grass Lake, MI

Fr. Paul Oggiooni                Director of the Pious Union of St. Joseph – Grass Lake, MI

Fr. Joseph Rinaldo              Community Superior, St. Louis Center – Chelsea, MI

Dn. A. Antony Samy                           Councilor and Treasurer in Thalavadi

Dn. T. Anandhan                  Diaconal ministry in Washermenpet, Chennai

Dn. J. Arputha Raj                               Diaconal ministry in Kumbakonam & 1st Councilor, Local Administrator

Dn. M. Franklin                    Diaconal ministry in Sivagangai & Councilor and Treasurer in Yesuvanam

Dn. X. Leo Joseph                 Diaconal ministry in Mysore & Formator and Councilor in GPN community

Dn. A. Paul Francis                             Diaconal ministry in Cuddalore Sagayamatha Parish & Councilor in Cuddalore community & Educator in DGBH

Dn. A. Perianayagasamy Diaconal ministry in St. Antony the Hermit Church, Kallathupatti, Dindigul & Local Administrator

Dn. S. Sagayaraj                   Diaconal ministry in Thirumullaivoyal, Chennai

Dn. R. Shantham                  Diaconal ministry in Sacred Heart Parish, Vatluru & Councilor in Vatluru Community & Educator –GK

Dn. A. Jegan Patrick                           Madurai mission collaborator & Councilor in Yesuvanam- Sivagangai

Dn. R. Amalorpavanathan             Formator and Treasurer in St. Joseph’s Seminary & Councilor in Cuddalore Community

Dn. A. Bakthiswalagan    Formator in Philosophy & Novitiate and Councilor in GPN Community

Your Face, O Lord, I Seek… in His Will is our Peace!

Fr. Soosai gives a gift to a student

We are in the joyous season of Easter and, as consecrated persons, our search that leads to the experience of peace, “in His will is our peace.”

As you come to know the New Religious Assignment proposals in our communities, we seek together and carry out God’s will generously and, for that, we need to grow positively in fostering our free will. We are all believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and in the God of Jesus Christ who, “although he was a son, he learned obedience.” Abraham left comfort and security and, without hesitation, he “obeyed and went” even when obedience was difficult. His faith is an example for all of us. Obedience means to hear with glad acceptance. The vow of obedience is undertaken in a spirit of faith and love.

In the present cultural context, we are tempted to search for personal well-being and to show a “Why me?” and a “but” attitude. Following the advice of the Founder, we obey not merely out of servile fear or out of human submissiveness, but we strive to obey like sons in order to please the heart of the Father.

When we look at religious assignments, we look at the good of the confrere, the good of the community and the service of the poor. We could compare our journey to an “Exodus” which is guided by the cloud, both bright and obscure, of the Spirit of God. Are we willing to obey God even when it’s not easy and when we don’t understand? “Gli occhi hanno pianto vedono meglio” (eyes which shed tears will see better). We obey by spending time in prayer, listening as well as speaking, and by allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us. Our beloved Holy Father Francis says, “Obedience is the means by which a man puts himself at the service of another.”

Through St. Joseph the Worker, we can learn and appreciate the value of all that is humble, simple, hidden and, above all, to work according to God’s will. Thank you for hearing and accepting the new assignment proposals. May our Blessed Mother, perfect model of obedience, bless your generosity of mind and heart!

We are sent

Candida looks over her daughter, Carmen

Manila – On Monday March 18, 2013, The Servants of Charity, from Guanella Center in Tandang Sora reached out and performed a rescue of two elderly women from the local area.  Candida (83 years old) and Carmen (57 years old) Ramirez are a mother and daughter who had been participating in various activities in Guanella Center for the past few years.  However, over the past 6 months their attendance was less and less often.  It was reported that Carmen had become completely blind due to diabetes, and was suffering from a large wound which had become infected.  Candida, because of the effects of her age was unable to take proper care of herself or her daughter.  Their living conditions had become sub-human, as the house had become full of garbage.  On Friday March 15th, Fr. Charlton Viray went for a pastoral visit and immediately decided that something had to be done.

On the day of the rescue Servants of Charity brothers, novices, seminarians, staff, and volunteers helped to carry the women from their home and transport them to our housing project near Guanella Center.  Once they arrived, the women were given baths, food, and medical attention. (Bro. Bob Neimeyer)

Candida looks over her daughter, Carmen
Candida tries to assist her daughter, Carmen.

A Lifelong Walk Under the Shadow of the Papacy

Seminarian Gero Lombardo 1958

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Germany – I believe that the unexpected change in our papacy has magnetized not only Christians worldwide, but also Hindus, Buddists and even Muslims. I have experienced this spiritual suspense and magic spirituality through the many wishes I’ve received from my former business partners in all of those countries. During the endless media reports, I could have fallen into a trance, because the steps of my unique Guanellian period were projected on the white screen of time. I was aware of the process for having undertaken this journey with many holy confreres under the guidance of eight popes.

Baptized in 1936 under Pius XI, I undertook my seminarian journey under Pius XII, and for a Holy Year, I was an altar boy at St. Peter’s Basilica. On Nov.1st, I assisted the pope very closely during the proclamation of the Dogma for Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. I was a novice then, and in 1955 I made my first profession. During my philosophy studies, I met the former Cardinal Montini several times. Before the death of Pius XII, I was selected as an assistant in 1958 at our minor seminary in Anzano/Como. Montini became Pope Paul VI in 1963.

During one of his pastoral visits to the parish of Angera, Italy between 1954-57, I was introduced to him as Our first flower from Sicily. He looked at me with paternal and scrutinizing eyes, and told me You could become a good priest! Was he really wrong? But God had other plans for me. I remembered his words on December 9,1960 when I left Barza in civilian clothes and my dream remained hanging on the gate of Guanella House; the cradle and anchor for many of us during that period.

Later one my classmates and best friends, Fr. Dominic Frantellizzi, brought me back to my Guanellian roots. This conversion was for me a little Damascus path. After all of those experiences I had the chance to visit Latin America many times between 1972-2003, from Mexico to Patagonia. And each time searching for my mentors, who one after the other, demanded to be sent to South America. Frs. Fontana, Frontini, Bordoni, Della Morte, Zanella, Ostinelli, Chinaglia, Pizzuto, Terzaghi, Maffioli and many others, were always on my travel schedule every time I visited customers there. This gave me the opportunity to witness terrible poverty existing alongside incredible wealth. The impact was so massive that I made up my mind to invest the rest of my life contributing to programs in the Americas, Africa, the Arabic World and Asia for reducing poverty, abandonment and illness.

Argentina was my favorite country not only because more then 20 million people have Italian roots there, but also because I found my ideal habitat there. From 1976 on, I was frequently in Buenos Aires and visited our confreres often in the principle community of St. Joseph Church.

Now you ask, what has all this to do with Pope Francis? Very much I would say, because our structure in Avenida Castro was under the jurisdiction of the bishop’s office. Flores is one of the three ecclesial districts of Buenos Aires, and Bishop Jorge had been the auxiliary bishop there since 1992. Therefore he visited our parish, boarding school and disabled center on many occasions. I never met him personally, but after his election as Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, I immediately questioned some of my contacts in Argentina, Rome and Northen Italy where my former pupils and philosophy classmates still provide the continuity of the Guanellian charism among our assisted patrons. So in a short time I gathered both witnesses and pictures. I’ll try to create a small mosaic using the short stories I learned from many long time friends of Bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was a very closed friend of the Guanellians in Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

My former pupil, Fr. Angelo Gottardi, spent many decades in South America, mostly in Argentina, where he had been a National Delegate for some time. He and Fr. Silvio Sperotto, a long time former vicar priest at St. Joseph Church, served under the rule of H.E Bergoglio. Bishop Jorge used to arrive on the colectivo bus at the parish where he often consumed very frugal meals with our disabled or elderly residents. Often he also helped to feed them. He always refused ostentatious or ornamental clothes, and he never carried a golden cross. Even since his election to the papacy he wears only a simple iron Cross as his pectoral. Fr Silvio was often surprised at how tender Bishop Bergoglio was in dealing with the poor of his parish and with our disabled. I also believe that most of the contents of his homily during his official introduction on March 19, 2013 had clearly shown many aspects of the Guanellian charism that he would have absorbed during his long guidance of the Diocese of Flores/Buenos Aires, and his frequent contacts with many of our confreres at St Joseph Parish, Tapiales Seminary and our elderly home. These were some of his main points:

  • Charity, love and respect each single neighbor
  • Respect the poor, with the sensibility and responsibility to help
  • Use social engagement and personal support to resolve political conflicts
  • Have compassionate patience for those who are feeble
  • Develop a constant personal aptitude to forgive every day, every time, and everybody
  • Create a deep devotion to God, Mother Mary and her true husband St. Joseph

It was not purely that he wished to start his mission as Pope on St. Joseph’s feast day because he firmly believed in St. Louis Guanella as the Patron of our congregations.  It was because he, like John Paul II desired to draw our attention to the figure of the Holy Patriarch of the whole Church and silent cooperator of the divine plan of the redemption of Humanity.

I am firmly convinced that Pope Francis is a great gift for the Catholic Church and for our Congregation. We pray that God, through the intercession of Holy Mary and Saint Joseph, finds the force and perseverance to reform our Church and bring her to believers. Opening the moldy rooms, the encrusted windows, and demolishing useless gates and prohibitions! What we need is a Church where fresh air can circulate and permit everyone to breathe the presence of God.

My firm desire now is to organize a pilgrimage from Germany to the Vatican and apply for a general audience with Pope Francis for our cosmopolitan community in the MCI of Pforzheim where Germans share faith, love of God, and fraternity with Italians, Romanians and….many Argentinians who almost three decades ago, came to our Region to find work and friends. This would finally conclude the circle of my life in the shadow of the Papacy. If I ever have the chance to meet Pope Francis, I will still have just one regret. That I could not meet Pope Pius XI because I was too young, and Pope John Paul I, because his pontificate was mysteriously interrupted during one of my visits to Uruguay and Argentina in 1978.

Sometimes I think back to the unforgettable moments of my twelve months of service as an altar boy in the center of Christianity; Saint Peter’s Church, which was somehow my cradle. After my brief silence, I would like to use the media window of our Divine Providence Province to wish everyone a grace filled rest from our present Lent. Let us open our hearts and prepare our souls to sing at the Easter Saturday Resurrection! Christ our Redeemer arose from his horrifying death on the Cross because the mercy of God is infinite! Misericordia Domini infinita est!

Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure

Allizer Agulto

February 2013-4Manila – “Guanella Home‘s Little Angel,” “Alli Baby,” “Alli Baba”: these are just a few of the terms of affection used by those who know Allizer Agulto. Allizer is a 13-year-old child who came to Guanella Home 6 years ago. Although Alli is unable to speak, partially blind, must be spoon fed oatmeal three times a day for meals, will never be potty trained, and relies on staff to provide for all his physical and material needs, since he arrived he has won the hearts of all who meet him. Alli is by far Guanella Home‘s most dependent child. He has multiple disabilities: he has been or is currently undergoing treatment for: hydrocephalus, bacterial meningitis, seizure disorder, dysphagia, scoliosis and clubfoot. He is also partially blind and paralyzed, and he is developmentally disabled. He is one of the most poignant examples of why Guanella Home exists. Our Founder, St. Luigi Guanella (1842-1915), exhorted all Servants of Charity to see and to serve Christ in those persons who are most abandoned—and considered useless—by modern secular society. The world looks upon persons like Alli and sees someone who cannot contribute to the material growth of society, they look at him as a consumer—not a contributor. However, we look upon Alli and see Christ. We know that the world is a better place—a more holy place because Alli is here. Alli is a child of God; created in His image and likeness, and because of his condition he more closely resembles Our Lord on the Cross. As a result of Alli‘s life being shared with us, there is an increase of the inestimable gifts of love, understanding, compassion, and patience in the world—ushering forth the Kingdom of God. Alli gives to the world—and to us—much more than he receives and without Alli, the world would certainly be much more impoverished. When Alli first arrived, he was cute and chubby. His disposition (which has not changed) was pleasant. He would often smile and laugh—and rarely cry. He would amuse himself by looking at his hand from different perspectives. At that time his scoliosis was not pronounced or even noticeable to most people. He was not having seizures and he very much enjoyed the sound of bell ringing. Understandably, some of the staff and religious were a bit trepidatious and concerned about how to take care of such a precious and fragile treasure as Alli. Even though meeting his needs (such as feeding) was difficult in the beginning, the professionalism, expert care giving, and great love of our staff and religious overcame those initial challenges—even feeding him in just fifteen minutes. What is even more amazing is that our other residents—even those who are very rough and maculit towards others—are as gentle as kittens towards Alli, and quite attentive to his needs. This phenomenon was not taught to them, but is something led out from them by Alli‘s presence. Sadly, as time has passed, Alli‘s physical condition has deteriorated: Almost as if overnight, the scoliosis has twisted and distorted his spine so much that his body looks like an ‘S.’ His muscles have become tense and more rigid, making it more difficult to feed him. What used to take fifteen minutes now takes about an hour. His seizures have become much more severe—in fact, while hearing the bells ringing used to give him great pleasure, now the same sound will give him a seizure. As a result of his increased physical needs, his medical needs (such as maintenance medicines and medical checkups) have also increased; but so have our love, care, understanding and compassion for him. (Bro. Bob Neimeyer)