Guanellian Charism School

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.

Mary, “Memory of the Church”

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

Renewed Commitments

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.

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.

Seminary Day

Cuddalore – The Guanellians of St. Joseph’s Seminary were indeed happy to celebrate ‘Seminary Day’ on the solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19th. The Festal Celebration commenced with the Ex-Seminarians Meet animated for all those who discontinued their formation as Guanellian religious.  Next was the St. Guanella Super Singer Competition for all children and youth of the area. In the evening a Procession of St. Joseph, our patron, led to the Solemn Holy Eucharist, which was presided by Fr. Visuwasam, Superior. All the parishioners, religious friends from neighboring communities and parishes, benefactors, GLM members, and all our beneficiaries doubled our joy by their gracious presence.

Communio 2017

Manila – The Carmelite Missionaries hosted this year’s communion event  which was held March 8th at the Carmelite Missionaries Convent. Communio is celebrated every single year to foster camaraderie and tighten the bond between our neighboring religious congregations. The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, Caritas Sisters of Jesus, Sisters of St. Dorothy and the Servants of Charity participated in the different activities. Everyone was prepared well for their presentations. Before the day ended, there was an exchange of names that had become their prayer partners until communion next year. A beautiful Mass presided by Fr. Charles was offered, con-celebrated by Fr. Loyola, Fr. Battista and Fr. Charlton.

German Generosity Supports 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.

Juniors-Seminarians Forum

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.

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.”