Blessed Clare Bosatta, DSMP

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!

Recollection for Guanellian Cooperators

Bangalore – One’s soul is nourished through spiritual formation, serving the poor with love and compassion. A first recollection was organized for our Cooperators on March 11-12th, building the group spiritually and providing an opportunity for everyone to get to know one other. The event was led by Fr. Prakash and Fr. Adaikalam. Fr. Prakash led the group with the theme, “The Aimed and Expected Purpose of a Guanellian”. He emphasized that our Founder considered relationships very important and always respected the feeling which is “Love”. He took this from scripture, where he adored the love of Abba Father, and always loved everyone. Fr. Prakash took the parable from John 15:1-17 “The Vine and the Branches” and explained how we need to stay connected to God down to the roots, so that we will bear fruit. The Cooperators meditated on each verse in the Guanellian Way and reflected on how Father Guanella would have responded. Fr. Adaikalam then emphasized the formation to help each Cooperator see God in everything. The day concluded with a talk by Fr. Gnanaraj who spoke of the Paternity of God. As a Cooperator, the life of every individual must be based on spirituality and moral values.

Don Guanella Oratory

Cuddalore – Until there are no longer poor and neglected to be assisted there is no end to our Charity. In view of actualizing this holy statement of our Founder, the Cuddalore Guanellian community has happily started Guanella oratory for the poor slum children around the house. It was inaugurated on March 19th, the feast day of St. Joseph, who is also the foster father of all poor and abandoned children. The objective of the oratory is “Intelligence and Morality”. Around 40 children were present at the inauguration. It was a blessed moment for all of us to sense the ministry of Jesus met through the footsteps of St. Louis Guanella and his servants.

Amazing Journey in India

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.

Guanellian Family Day

Manila – On March 11th the priests, brothers and sisters of the Guanellian Family had family day in Noah’s Park, Montalban. All the brothers and sisters participated as soon as the games began. It was indeed a fine day for everyone, a day spent enjoying one another’s company and rejuvenating relationships in the spirit of our founder St. Louis Guanella.

Charity Honored

Cuddalore – St. Louis Guanella beautifully stated that “Charity will save the World”. Being inspired by the Guanellian works of charity, Ms. Anita joined GLM to involve herself in the ministry of mercy through her little ways. Gradually then she became a regular volunteer for the Guanellian Apostolate in the area. In particular she is a regular volunteer at Don Guanella Open House Ministry or Mercy-Ministry to homeless wanderers in Cuddalore every Sunday. Noticing her heart for the neglected, her love for the abandoned and her significant service to the poor and needy “The Pen Queen Organization” run by Suriyan FM Radio Group chose and awarded her as “Woman of the Year for Social Service” in Cuddalore. While being honored she happily expressed her joy of being a member of the Guanellian family and mission. She thanked all Guanellians for their charitable guidance in her life.

Search-In Program

Manila – February 18th-19th the Servants of Charity hosted the Search-In program which educates students and recent graduates what the religious life is like and what it takes to be in seminary. The participants were recruited through vocation campaigns of the Servants of Charity at different parishes and schools. Participants stayed overnight at the seminary. They participated in different activities and attended a series of talks by Fr. Charlton Viray, SdC and some seminarians. Topics included vocation awareness, spirituality, the Servants of Charity, St. Louis Guanella and his charism. Another goal of this program is to help the participants discern their vocation and not be afraid to respond to it.

The Birth of the Servants of Charity

St. Guanella and the mountains

In Como, on March 24, 1908, Fr. Guanella and eleven other confreres pronounced public and perpetual or temporary vows, according to each one’s status, during an intimate and moving ceremony.
This decision apparently appeared to be an obvious contradiction. Father Guanella, in fact, had just received for the third time, a negative response to the request for approval of the Servants of Charity. The history of those days would never stop amazing us for the amount of surprises and drawbacks.
The procedure had been suggested by Fr. Claudio Benedetti who represented the Holy See and acted in its name: “It was established that Fr. Guanella should put his mind to correcting the Constitutions and fully conform them to the norms of the Sacred Congregation; to make a more precise and total separation of the houses occupied by the Sisters from those operated by the Servants of Charity; to profess and have the others make their vows as already planned; to establish a general government according to the aforesaid norms; to open a novitiate house better than the existing one.”
Father Guanella had the opportunity to present the status of the Servants of Charity and promised to welcome and accept any counsel, to pursue the desired approval. That was enough to make every perplexity fall, and proceed to the first accomplishments.
The evening of Tuesday, March 24, 1908, was the vigil of the Feast of the Annunciation. Father Guanella’s priests gathered in the church of the Sacred Heart in Como to promise their fidelity and also legally become a Congregation. The sober description, almost terse, was composed by Father Guanella himself: “On this evening the undersigned priests gathered to profess simple, perpetual vows, in the institute of the Servants of Charity in this order. The Priest, Louis Guanella, as the Founder, made the perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience according to the Constitutions received, and revised by the most Rev. Consulter, Fr. Claudio Benedetti in Rome. Afterwards, the above mentioned twelve confreres received the profession of the simple perpetual vows.” (6)
Fr. Leonardo Mazzucchi, one of the twelve newly professed, tells about the extremely emotional atmosphere: “In that late hour Father Guanella would open his lips in his humble, good, simple words; but his mouth did not speak, his great heart, his holy soul spoke feelings of rare sublimity of thought and affection. When we heard him, the martyr of such great fatigue and of many past sorrows, thanking us deeply so moved, oh then our heart could no longer withhold our tears, and we shed tears of love, of holy jubilation, of repentance, of recognition that left an indelible mark on our sous.” (7)
The same ceremony with the same emotions was repeated on March 28th in Milan; on April 1st again in Milan; on April 5th again in Como; on May 18th in Fratta Polesine; on June 7th in Rome and on June 26th for the third time in Como. Twenty-five perpetual professions and eleven for a three year term, and many more to come. Each one of them felt as if they were giving life to a reality that would leave a mark on the history of the Church. They felt to be a factor in the birth of an agile, young congregation that would know how to renew itself in love, moment by moment. On March 28th, the first General Chapter of the congregation was assembled at St. Cajetan House in Milan. The chapter fathers were fifteen and on that occasion, Father Louis Guanella was acclaimed General Superior. It was a first step of the unthinkable prospective of a community united by a sole bond of charity.
He wrote to Fr. Benedetti informing him of what had been done. It seemed that now the road for his institutions would be less strenuous. Many obstacles had been removed. Now Father Guanella could look with more confidence and serenity to the future: “Today is the 42nd anniversary of my sacred Ordination, and I beg you to bless me and our institutions, where I believe the Spirit of the Lord rests. God willing, in His mercy, I hope that the two institutes reach their proper goal. I enjoy repeating that they give me much comfort and hope.”

German Guanellians Seek Hidden Way to Syria

For five years the eyes of the civil and especially the Christian world have been on a tormented country, where an infamous genocide is perpetrated while the Great Policy dispute for a ridiculous cease fire that only lasted a couple of hours continues. We Christians watch the events through the window, and we do not move a single finger! This is the sad reality which the Patriarch of about 4 million Melchite Catholics in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq is condemning in his desperate appeals to the remaining people of good will in Western Christianity. In his recent Christmas letter addressed also to our German Entity, he pointed out an often forgotten step of our history: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Palestine; but Christianity was born and raised in Syria.
I have personally visited that region many times while acting as export manager of my former company. During that time I had many contacts in the capital, Damas, Aleppo and in the neighboring Lebanese Beka Valley, now the biggest refugee camp after that in TR. Through these former business partners we started a risky effort to bring substantial help to these stranded Christians. In fact after first our personal meeting with Patriarch Gregory in Munich in July 2010 in cooperation with the Knights of St. Lazarus of Prior, Mr. Folker Theis, former chaplain of this order, we collected medical equipment for the Catholic Hosptial at Khabab near Damas. Unfortunately was damaged by the war and reconstructed later on with generous help of Melchite Communities in Germany, Austria and also Catholics of Poland. The most efficient contribution of the German Guanellian laity was coordinated by our first councillor Dr. Helmut Müller and hospitals of the German Pious Union at Münstertal. Containers arrived in Damas via our friends in Lattakia, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. This has been a fulgent Morning Star, a hidden path to Syria of our fledgling German Procure.
We recently sent an invitation to His Beatitude Gregory III, to visit our Guanellian entities in Pforzheim and Tiefenbronn in order to further develop solidarity programs for Syria. “Guanellian engagement” in Middle East is an inspired effort found hidden in Father Guanella’s personal journey to Palestine and Damas in 1902! He was the real designer of our path around the globe. Why did he visit Treviri in 1912? Why at the end of his tireless earthly life did he visit the USA? I guess he was able to see all the future carriers of his charism in all those countries. And I, as an old dreamer, still have a burning dream to link Guanellians from Nazareth to the old roots of our Faith! But how? By reversing the ancient journey of the three Magi from the cradle of Jesus, to the cradle of Christianity. Patriarch Gregory III could be a real bridge for a Guanellian shelter of charity on the border to Syria, in the green Beka Valley, where we both still have contacts in the city of Zahle, who could contribute to making this dream a reality. From there the path of Fr. Guanella into the Emirates is not far, because in 2009 our General Council received a formal invitation to establish a fully financed disabled center from the Apostolic Vicariate Msgr. Paul Hinder validated by a factive promise from Sheik Faris el Marzroui, Cousin of the Ruler, Sultan Mohammed Al Zayed, at Abu Dhabi.
May God grant the entire Guanellian family His privileged grace. At the beginning of Lent we wish all our readers a fruitful and blessed spiritual journey.

Gero Lombardo, German Guanellian Procure

Lenten Journey… Fasting From…?!

As we embrace our Lenten journey, let us reform and reorganize our life. Our Holy Father invites us through his meaningful message, “The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift.” Today we are dominated, to a terrifying extent, by ritualism, legalism, and resigned spiritual mediocrity. Does our almsgiving proceed from a genuine love of God and neighbor? Fasting from wounding words and constant unwanted gossiping by means of social communication would be a way of almsgiving. Let us try to develop a rhythm of withdrawal and return, because we are called to discern within ourselves that we may be sinking and drowning with a storm of our passions and evil habits. The rich man’s real problem was the failure to heed God’s word. As a result, he no longer loved God and grew to despise his neighbor.
Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ and a realization of our nothingness, weak flesh and sinfulness. Father Guanella left us as his last will ‘Pray and Suffer.’ While he was preaching a sermon- the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross on Good Friday at St. Mary’s House in Lora in 1908 along with Father Bacciarini, he was explaining the words “I thirst,”- “Jesus is thirsty for our sanctification, for my priestly soul, that I do not pursue enough.” At a certain point his voice broke down and he was unable to continue and then burst into uncontrollable tears of sorrow. Father Bacciarini, moved by such humility and sincere sorrow, took the pulpit and finished the Seven Last words. What is God going to do for me in these next forty days? We focus our attention on physical health, diet or body building but how seldom do we talk about spiritual health! Lent is a fitting time for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered to us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam