Testimonials from Indonesia

 

MARIA FATIMA (MERY)

My ancestors came from a coastal area in central Flores, namely the Nagekeo region in Nangaroro, and we belong to the Tonggo tribe. In the past, war and the growth of the population forced us to move uphill to the mountains to cultivate land. Thanks to their hard work they could support their children and grandchildren to this day. Coconut, mango, papaya, cassava, banana and corn are planted on dry land depending on rainfall. We, like most of the population, work in agriculture. There is sufficient for us, for our cattle and poultry and even for sale. Although we are from different tribes, we can communicate well, because generally people are open and friendly, creating harmony in society.

I was born in a devout catholic family. My parents gave us a sound catholic education by living religious teachings based on the Scriptures as a guide for life. Our family started every new day with a prayer. Our house is near the church. Our spiritual life is nourished by the Eucharist and further deepened in our prayer meetings and bible sharing groups. God has gifted me with a good voice. Before the pandemic I was often asked to sing the Responsorial Psalm in Sunday Mass. I also teach young people to sing church songs. During our prayer meetings, people often ask me to lead the prayers. I feel that Chist’s presence among us strengthens our family bonds.

I am very grateful for everything God has given us: the land to cultivate, the trees and plants, cattle, and especially the people with whom I live and work. Of course, misunderstandings and conflicts are unavoidable. But Jesus teaches us to forgive. St. Angela teaches me to be kind and compassionate, to act purely out of love and zeal for souls.. (2nd Counsel, 1-2) I try to put this into practice and pass it on to those who come to me with problems in their married life, or other problems.

Technological development is a big advantage. We can learn new ways of farming and raising livestock. I invite people to work together using new, more profitable ways. But many older people find it difficult to change. They prefer to use traditional methods. This can lead to conflict with young people who have developed a new mentality using modern communication tools. But young people also need guidance in using those tools wisely. Often they are just wasting time using them as mere entertainment, for example playing games. Or they get wrong informations because of the many hoaxes circulating.

Another problem is poverty.  Many people have lost their jobs in the city because of the pandemic. They return to the village and become day laborers working in other people’s fields. The global warming causes long periods of draught, so that we have nothing to harvest. Not many people can afford to buy smart phones. Moreover, the internet connection in our area is still very limited.

Living in this complex society as a Secular Ursuline, I draw my strength and inspiration from St. Angela. In guiding people, especially the young, I have experienced that I can “achieve more with kindness and gentleness than with harshness and sharp rebukes” (3rd Counsel, 3) In facing poverty and deprivation, I try to keep hope alive,  as St. Angela said: “Have hope and firm faith in God, for He will help you in everything.” (Counsels, Prologue, 15)

I am glad that I am not struggling alone. There is Jesus, our and my Beloved, and my community, all my sisters in the Company of Indonesia and the Federation. I unite my prayers and efforts with them. The holy Spirit who lives in our hearts keeps us focussed on Jesus who strengens our faith to believe that, “God works in all things to bring good to those who love Him, that is, for those who are called according to God’s plan.” (Romans 8: 28).


MIA

I was born and raised in Lembata, a small island east of Flores. For many years I was a teacher at an Ursuline school in Jakarta until my retirement a year ago. I have a house in Jakarta, quite far from the center of the city. I never imagined the situation would turn like this because of the pandemic. My mother and many other relatives live in Lembata. My mother will turn 101 years old this year. But she forbade me to go home to visit her. It is a very long way from Jakarta to Lembata. One has to take the plane to Kupang on the island of Timor, and from there take another plane to Lembata. So far there are no flights from Kupang to Lembata. My mother and relatives assure me that we can meet in prayer, heart and mind. Of course also by smart phone.

I thought that I could enjoy much quiet time during this retirement. But far from that. I am now much busier that ever. My day starts at 4 am with a shower and then morning prayer and Mass on line. Household chores take time and energy: cleaning and cooking. After breakfast I check my smart phone for messages. Every day I find greetings, good and bad news, requests for advise and counseling, invitations for meetings, webinars, meditations, conferences and courses on line, invitations for meetings, also on line sales. Sometimes there is too much to handle. The internet is the only way to contact my family, Sisters in the Company, ex-students and co-teachers. Some of our Sisters in the Company are difficult to contact, because they lack communication means or the skill to use them. I have volunteered to contact them, however difficult, and be a be a bridge between them and the Company.

So my days are really full. I am grateful for being able to serve others and give new hope to those who have lost all hope. This is because I know that Jesus and Mary and St. Angela are with me in this house and help me to become a blessing for others. These words of St. Angela strengthen me: “Have hope and firm faith in God, for He will help you in everything. Pray to Him, humble yourselves under his great power, because without doubt, as He has given you this charge, so He will give you also the strength to be able to carry it out, provided you do not fail for your part. Act, move, believe, strive, hope, cry out to him with all your heart…” (Counsels, Prologue, 15-17)


ANGELINA

I was born and live in Ketanggi, a village near Rembang, a town on the north coast of Java. Rembang is known as the birthplace of our heroine, RA. Kartini. Rembang is also called the Town of Salt and Little China. “Town of Salt”, because most of the residents of Rembang work as salt farmers. “Little China” because in the city of Rembang there are many Chinese residents.

Rembang is also rich in natural resources. The ocean is a source of all kinds of fich. The fertile land is covered with rice fiels and green plants, giving a livelihood to fishermen and farmers. In Rembang one can also find a diversity of religions, cultures and customs. The majority of the population are Moslem, but there is tolerance among the adherents of different religions.

My mother’s family is Christian and my father’s family Catholic. Before marriage my mother became a Catholic. In the course of time, one of my relatives became a Moslem. Since November 2020, I am a candidate in the Company of St. Ursula Indonesia. I am personally inspired by the life of St. Angela. She had the courage to found the Company of St. Ursula which was quite new in her time: serving God in consecrated life, but not in the convent. I want to follow St. Angela who was a true spouse of Christ by proclaiming God’s love through life in society.


ONA

I live and work in Kupang, on the island of Timor, in the Province of Southeast Indonesia. The province consists of approximately 550 islands with three large islands, namely Flores, Sumba, West Timor. There are several sub-ethnicities with many different languages and customs. The island of Timor has many beautiful views of the sea and non-volcanic mountains. A very famous plant that grows here is sandalwood which is fragrant and very expensive. There are also many cows and poultry which are sold outside the region

The Timorese used to build their houses in places that are difficult to reach for self-protection, e.g. on the mountains, rocks, surrounded by thorns or stone walls. The traditional houses were designed like beehives with the roof reaching almost to the ground. Within each ethnic group there is a close relationship, marked by family gatherings to share joys and sorrows. This cooperation is very helpful to ease the burden of families who are in difficulties.

One of the biggest problems in Kupang is addiction to alcoholic beverages, not only among adults, but also among many young people. Often it results in commotion and violence against family members and the surrounding community. Many cultural drinking parties end in bloodshed due to drunkenness. As a result, houses were destroyed, thrown with stones, and divisions among the tribes because they felt offended by their attitude and words.

I am grateful to be blessed with a profound Catholic family. Since childhood, we have learned to be grateful in everyday life. Our family has the habit of praying together before going to bed. On Sundays the whole family goes to church together with my father and mother. My father was a teacher, so we were disciplined since childhood. We even made a schedule for studying and doing chores at home. So we were raised in a loving family. The brother-sister relationship has been planted in us by our dear father and mother who have guided us. Thank you father and mother who are now in heaven and always pray for us, your children, wherever we are.

Since childhood I dreamt to become a teacher like my father. As for me, being a teacher is both fun and challenging. I am currently a 6th grade teacher at the Kupang Archdiocesan school. It’s fun to each day meet those innocent children with various characters and personalities. It is also a challenge because apart from teaching knowledge and skills, I have to educate them by planting life values like love, care for others, responsibility, honesty, discipline and good manners.

I am also actively involved in other activities at school such as accepting new students, guiding and accompanying  children to participate in Olympic competitions in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Arts. Also in competitions at provincial level. During this pandemic, activities are carried out by using the internet network. The information and communication technology is very demanding. There are many obstacles too, because the internet network access is often disrupted.

Many children do not have devices like smart phones because they are poor. In that case the teacher prepares the teaching material and questions. Every 3 days the parents come to school to get them. Others send learning videos and some use zoom. People recognize me as a Secular Ursuline by my way of teaching, by treating students indiscriminately, by forgiving those who have done wrong, by reprimanding and giving advice kindly and gently, not harshly. This is what attracts parents most, and they compete with each other to have theirr children in my class, because there are other paralel classes. Thanks to St. Angela who is always close to my heart.


KRISTINA

I was born and grew up in a Catholic family in Wates, a small town in Central Java. The majority of the population are Moslem, and so are many relatives of mine. But we are in good terms with each other.

Many years ago I left my native town to settle and work in Malang, a city in East Java. It is a quiet city with a cool climate. Formerly the Dutch who occupied our country till 1942, designed this city as a place for the retired. Malang is famous for its apples; they are green and a bit sour, good for apple pie. During this pandemic most people stay at home and do some gardening. Others keep their jobs and work from home using the internet. Still others make their living by selling food at the roadside.

I work in the rectory of the parish of “Maria Assumpta”. It has 2.637 parishioners and two priest. I try my best to serve them so they in turn can seve the people of God in the parish. Our parish is divided in five neighborhoods, each with a coordinator. The daily Mass is attended by about thirty people. There is Mass on Saturday evening, and four on Sunday, each attended by 30 people also, from the five neighborhoods. The attendees are strictly selected according to the health proce-dures. Others can attend Mass on line.

I am a very simple woman with little education. I am very much inspired by St. Angela who was also a simple woman. But she was very brave to found something quite new in her time: A Company of consecrated women living in the world as light and salt. I don’t know much about technology, but I try to learn. This way I can keep contact with my family and my Sisters in the Company. I have learned to use zoom for the monthly meeting of the Company. I am very happy that I can see and hear them, and chat with them during our zoom meeting.

We keep our hope alive, and pray together for the end of the pandemic. May all of us who are called to be the spouse of Christ have the courage to live consecrated life pleasing to our Lord in this difficult time.


YUSTINA

I live in Madiun, a city in East Java. During the dry season, fom May to October,  the climate can be very hot. But during the rainy season it can be cool, sometimes even cold.  The soil is fertile. There are many rice fields, and various kinds of fruit and flowers also grow here.

I was born into a devout Catholic family. My parents taught me from a young age to attend the Eucharist every day. No wonder the seeds of my vocation started to grow at a very young age. It was my dream from childhood to become an Ursuline nun. So after finishing high school, I entered as a candidate. But in the convent I was crying all the time.

Finally an Ursulin sister told me that the vocation of consecrated life is not only in the convent. She brought me into contact with a Secular Ursuline, namely Margaretha Siti Asiyah. From her I got to know the Company of  St. Ursula,  and applied for membership. I was very happy to have found the right place to live consecrated life outside the convent! My parents, brothers and sisters as well as my other relatives, are very supportive, so that I can live my vocation with great joy.

For the past ten years I have been working at the educational Institution of the Brothers of St. Aloysius Gonzaga (CSA). The Priests, Brothers and three religious Institutes: the Ursulines, MC Sisters and Alma Sisters work together in good harmony for the benefit of the people of God. The ones I know are also supportive of my vocation as a Secular Ursuline. I hope and pray our Company may grow in this rich soil of Madiun.


YOHANA

I am proud of my native town Klaten. Apart from its beautiful nature, Klaten is also known as the City of a Thousand Temples. There are about 18 Hindu and Buddhist heritage temples. The most famous one is the Prambanan Temple where the Ramayana Dance is performed monthly when there is full moon. The other temples are equally well preserved and protected by the local government. Klaten is known among Catholics for the two caves, places of Marian pilgrimage, namely Maria Sriningsih and Marganingsih. Marian novenas are often held, and every first Friday the Eucharist is celebrated there. The Maria Asumpta church and the Grand Mosque are close together. The Moslems and Catholics help one another during their respective religious celebrations.

I am the 4th child of five siblings. From my great grandmother to my parents, we formed a big Catholic family. But over time many of my siblings have become Moslem, usually because of marriage. My father taught us in a very strict and disciplined manner. We children should not be lazy to go to church. We should not  be late and had to dress neatly. All that has formed us into devout Catholics,  and we still apply his teachings to this day.

After finishing high school, I worked at the Ursuline provincialate in Bandung where Sr. Emma is a member of the community.It was there I heard about the Company of St. Ursula and became a member. I have the privilege  of meeting Elisa Tarolli a few times. I admire her great zeal and love for the Company. From Sr. Irene I learned the art of cooking, and from Sr. Emma the spirituality of St. Angela and the skill of doing the reading at Mass.

I would have loved to work there all my life, but after 23 years I got sick and I reluctantly resigned from my job. Those had veen very enriching years. I loved the  sisters and they loved me. Up to now I am still communicating with some Sisters. I left Bandung and returned to Klaten, my native town. I stayed with my sister and helped her with working in the school canteen. I also did some Pastoral work by joining the choir, doing the readings at Mass, and training young people to read at Mass. With the pandemic the school was closed and so was the canteen. I did not want to be a burden for my sister, so when I was offered a job by the Ursulines in Jakarta, I accepted.

I thought I was already strong. But after some weeks my health was deteriorating and again I had to quit work. My niece in Jakarta asked me to help her with household cores. She lives alone with her husband who is away most of the time for work. And so here I am, trying to serve people in every possible way. I follow Mass on line. There are also many prayer groups, meditations, webinars and Scripture courses  on line. I feel a great longing in my heart to come closer to God. I am also very afraid to be contaminated by covid-19. But St. Angela who outlived a pandemic in her time, losing both her parents and a sister, teaches me to trust God: “I firmly believe and trust in God’s goodness that we shall overcome all difficulties, dangers and hardships…” (Prologue of the Rule, 25). Her words give me hope and encouragement.

Angela Randazzo and the Experience of Caritas

Angela Randazzo, of the Company of Caltanisetta, tells us about her experience at Caritas. On behalf of the Italian Conference of Secular Institutes, she represents the Italian Secular Institutes in the National Council of Italian Caritas.

Thanks to Angela for her valuable service and for sharing!


My commitment in Caritas began back in 1998 as a councilor, responsible for immigrants, in the diocesan council of the Diocese of Caltanissetta. My small village, called Delia, located in the center of Sicily in the province of Caltanissetta, with a little less than five thousand inhabitants, is a country that has always had a strong migratory flow. My own family starting with my father and all his family, all my brothers and sisters have emigrated to Argentina, Venezuela and Canada. I myself spent five years in Venezuela. This long experience of migration, certainly, has helped to create in me a particular sensitivity about this problem and has developed in me a particular attention to the people who today are forced to go through this same experience.

With the passing of time, our territory, strongly affected by the phenomenon of emigration, has found itself witnessing a reversal of the situation: from a country of emigrants we have become a country of immigrants, with a considerable presence of people from North Africa, Morocco and Tunisia and from Eastern Europe, Romania, Ukraine, etc.

In order to try to respond concretely to this new phenomenon, our diocesan Caritas established in Delia the Caritas Listening Centre for Immigrants, named “Marianna Amico Roxas,” as a tangible sign that our local Church feels close to the people living on the margins of our society, giving me the responsibility of coordinator of the Centre. The main objective of the Centre has been to develop in the community the culture of welcome and solidarity, which allows us to incarnate the commandment of love: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn13:34), through the services of listening, information, accompaniment, help in finding housing, work and integration into society, as well as the provision of basic necessities.

This year I was called to represent Secular Institutes in the National Council of Italian Caritas, an unexpected request and a very demanding task. On one hand I am honored. On the other hand, it is an increased responsibility. Caritas Italiana is a “pastoral body constituted by the Italian Episcopal Conference” to promote the witness of charity in the community in collaboration with other ecclesial bodies. It uses the various bodies provided for by the statute, among them the National Council, to achieve this objective.

The Council consists of: “three Bishops who are members of the Presidency; Director and Treasurer; one Delegate for each ecclesiastical Region (priest or deacon or member of an Institute of Consecrated Life, or Society of Apostolic Life, or lay person) appointed by the respective Episcopal Conference;  four members appointed respectively by the Italian Conference of Major Superiors (CISM), by the Union of Major Superiors of Italy (USMI), by the Conference of Italian Missionary Institutes (CIMI) and by the Italian Conference of Secular Institutes (CIIS); of four lay people elected by the National Council of the Apostolate of the Laity” (Art. 11, Italian Caritas Statute).

The cordial, simple and familiar welcome of the director and the other members immediately made me feel at home. New horizons opened up, expanding my understanding of this institution, which operates on a local and international level.

Caritas Italiana was founded in 1971, at the behest of Paul VI, in the spirit of renewal initiated by the Second Vatican Council “to promote the witness of the charity of the Italian ecclesial community, in a manner appropriate to the times and needs, in view of the integral development of man, social justice and peace, with particular attention to the last and with a prevalent pedagogical function” (Art.1 Statute), always puts the person at the center by involving him/her in the search for solutions, making him/her a protagonist, in the hope of achieving autonomy in building his/her own future. Caritas carries this service forward through the daily action of almost 200 diocesan Caritas units throughout Italy, the Listening Centres, study and networking with other realities that provide their service to the poor.

This mission involves fundamental and constant formation work with the diocesan Caritas team and new directors, with the professional community of Caritas formators, in support of the integrated formation plan. The annual national conferences are significant moments of formation and culture. In 2019 the conference was held in Matera on the theme: “Charity is culture.” In 2020 the theme of the conference will be “Charity is mission”; it will take place in Milan.

In the field of immigration, the priority commitment is to promote the culture of welcome and respect for diversity. Caritas continues to carry on the project linked to “humanitarian corridors.” This means welcome in parishes, diocesan structures and communities, in families, but also promotion of projects on family reunification of refugees in Italy.

Young people commit themselves to civil service and summer volunteer projects. Collaboration with MIUR has developed attention to the school world, with competitions on welcoming and inclusive communities.

The commitment of Caritas Italiana is not limited to the Italian context, but extends to the various countries of the world through the accompaniment between local Churches with the implementation of micro-development economic and health projects. International emergencies have seen Caritas Italiana in the forefront with Caritas International, as with the earthquake in Iran and Iraq, the fires in Greece, the humanitarian crisis on the Angolan border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the floods in Kenya and earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia, just to give a few examples.

In Syria the project was a mosaic of mother-of-pearl to share to denounce the horrors of war because art has always been a megaphone and can become a tool to rebuild societies torn by conflict.

In Venezuela, where a crisis defined as a “complex humanitarian emergency” persists, Caritas Italiana has carried out a wide-ranging humanitarian program throughout the country, both food aid and basic necessities, as well as health: drugs, health care and medical assistance. Also our Diocesan Listening Centre “Marianna Amico Roxas” has contributed by collecting medicines and welcome and help for many Italians and Italo-Venovuelans who have returned home because of the socio-political crisis. The crisis is still continuing, consequently also the action of Caritas.

In Kenya, through the Slumsdunk project, basketball has become the tool to build tomorrow: a basketball school has been opened in Mathare, offering basketball courses to young people and training for young coaches of the future promoting an alternative to street life. Already 20 boys and girls, thanks to the project, have obtained scholarships in the most prestigious schools in Kenya.

Several projects have also been carried out in Italy. I quote some examples.

In Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, with the project Building Signs of Hope, it was necessary to develop paths of proximity to poor people, offering them paths of constant accompaniment involving their home countries. In order to foster attitudes of concern for people in difficulty, teams of workers with different skills were set up to support pastoral units in taking on charitable works and hospitality as an authentic lifestyle of Christian communities.

In Fano-Fossombrone-Cagli-Pergola, the promotion of the “road home” project has tried to meet the many people and families who experience severe instability linked to housing: late payment, evictions, difficulties in finding housing. All this to give real help without forgetting the educational approach.

In Caltanissetta, Caritas has started its own grocery story in the centre of the city. Don Marco Paternò, diocesan assistant, presents this new reality in this way: “Its special quality is the dignity of the person, who does not receive a package to take home, but enters this small supermarket and chooses what s/he needs, as it is done in all supermarkets. The person shops with a card loaded with points, a way of empowering the person. For the community, the store has been a novelty, gradually raising awareness. In the first year, several volunteers from the parish Caritas unit have gotten involved. A beautiful network was born, which I hope will grow more and more.”

These are just some of the projects and commitments that Caritas carries out to bear witness to God’s love for human beings, for every person, especially for those who live on the margins of society. Welcoming the other, the nearness that is expressed by coming close, by sharing, by willingness to serve, not only helps people experiencing hardship, but also gladdens people experiencing being a gift [1].

Angela Randazzo

[1] The presentation of Caritas’ commitments and activities at national and international level, come from the 2018 Annual Report of Caritas Italiana.

The President writes to us

Valeria, the President, writes us a letter that can be found through the link below.

Furthermore, she communicates that these events are being canceled:

  • Days of formation and spirituality in Brescia May 1 to 3, 2020, for Directresses, legal representatives of the Company, Vice-directresses, Councilors, and leaders of initial and continuing formation
  • The international convention of the Federation planned for July 24 to 28, 2020, at the Abbey of Novacella (Bolzano/Bressanone)

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Dear consecrated brothers and sisters

We are sharing the letter from the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, sent to all consecrated men and women on the occasion of the particular Lenten season that we are experiencing.

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Kenya’s Group Is Growing

The Group of Kenya took an important step forward on November 29, 2019, when Perpetua made her consecration for life in Nairobi. Perpetua was the first Kenyan in the Company of St. Ursula. In 2011 she contacted the Federation with a request begin this way of life. In 2012 the President (then Maria Rosa Razza) and her Council accepted Perpetua’s application. The President appointed Mary-Cabrini Durkin, a Councilor, to guide her, through twice-monthly Skype conversations and annual visits.

The Group has grown. Eunice entered in 2014 and made her first consecration in 2016. Leah and Esther were received into the initial journey in 2018, and Jacinta began a process of transfer from a religious congregation. They meet monthly; Mary-Cabrini joins them by Skype. Three more women are in discernment about their vocation.

Joyful song and dance filled the chapel of the Savelberg Retreat Center during the recent ceremony. Perpetua’s friends and relatives attended. Her sisters conducted her to the altar. Mary-Cabrini received her consecration as a delegate of Valeria, now the Federation’s President.

Father Terry Charlton, S.J., was the celebrant of the Mass. The novices of the Ursuline religious sisters, along with their directress and Provincial Superior, formed the choir, joined by members of the Company.

After Mass, more dancing and much laughter accompanied a festive meal.

Perpetua’s life-commitment plants the roots of the “vine”: the Company of St. Ursula, even deeper in Kenya.

Mons. Zito has returned to the Father’s house

Today, October 8, the vice-assistant of the Federation’s Council, Mons. Gaetano Zito, returned to the Father’s house. Let us accompany him with our prayer and our thanks for all he has done for us.


“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; as it pleases the Lord, so has it happened….”

Remember him as you wish… as a “great man of great learning,” an “outstanding scholar,” a “deeply cultured intellectual,” an “excellent historian,” and none of these would be inappropriate, because he was all of this and even more. But for me he was always and only a true father, an angel that our Lord in his infinite mercy placed on the pathway of my life. No… I am certain that before the Lord none of the grand titles that we humans glory in possessing have any value! Because at the end all passes away….  True? But love remains! Love and the passion with which we live it. The remarkable, vast learning attributed to him did not remain something merely intellectual or abstract in him, but with amazing intelligence he succeeded in translating it into daily actions. His great knowledge served only to demonstrate heavenly realities in concrete forms. He wore every honor with a hearty sense of humor and deep charity. For me he will always be a great man of God. A holy priest. A simple father. As we discovered: an angel …

A Catanian sister

Report by Mary-Cabrini

We propose the reflection of Mary-Cabrini Durkin held on the occasion of the International Study Conference from 23-25 November 2018 in Brescia.

Title: The International Federation

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On the road to canonization

The diocesan process for the beatification of MARIA BORGATO closed recently in Padua. She died in the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women, not far from Berlin. She formed part of a chain of solidarity with Franciscan Father Placido Cortese, also arrested and killed for having sought to put Gospel teaching into practice.

In the presence of Bishop Claudio Cipola, the postulator of the cause, Mons. Giuseppe Magrin (former Assistant of the Company of Padua) took the oath. Now all the documentation passes to Rome, to the Vatican.

We ask Maria Borgato to watch over our Companies from heaven and help their good and altruistic deeds flourish, as she did in her own daily life.

One of the sisters present at the ceremony commented:

“ … The figure of Maria became almost palpable through the speeches of the authorities who spoke one after the other. Each one emphasized in different nuances the extraordinary strength of this simple woman who could so humbly and courageously demonstrate that she belonged to God and loved others. Silently and without ostentation, Maria made her life a total gift. In her own body she experienced the deprivation and annihilation of her dignity, not fearing persecution and death, in order to save the lives of others.

“While the different participants in the process placed the final signatures on the documents that were then inserted into boxes for transport to Rome, I thought about how many material proofs and rational arguments are needed to demonstrate one person‘s holiness, a holiness that local history has already recognized for a long time, which no box could fully contain, because it is something that goes beyond our categories and is grafted in the most secret places of the human heart.

“We are grateful to God and to our sister Maria for the gift of her life and for her witness. Her example helps us face lovingly and bravely the trials that every day presents us, personally or in society, sure that God and our mother Saint Angela will not leave us alone.”

Read more about MARIA BORGATO

A path of holiness: Spiritual reading of the Constitutions of the Company


We present Kate’s text translated into English and French…

       

 

 

Greeting from Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Rome, July 11, 2018, Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Peter’s Basilica at the tombs of the Popes

Greeting from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State

This year the Eucharist occurs at the tomb of Saint Peter, a particularly significant place. I did not want to miss this particular encounter, and I greet all of you, who represent the Federation of Companies of Saint Ursula, Secular Institute of Saint Angela Merici, here in Rome for your ordinary Assembly.

Cordial good wishes to the out-going leadership who arrive at this point with so much fruit ripened in these years, and sincere good wishes also to the new leadership, that they may be able to do productive work in service to your Company.

I have read one of your magazines from 2016, devoted to presenting the history of the Federation of the Company of Saint Ursula that was edited by Prof. Gheda, to the effect that the Merician charism substantially has four calls:  the call to holiness, the call to console and to confer dignity, the call to renewal, the call to bring light into the world and into history. Yours is a beautiful vocation, a very beautiful vocation, a very beautiful call.

I would like to comment on this vocation, this call, from a practical angle, remembering the great person whom we celebrate today and whom the liturgy presents for our veneration and imitation: Saint Benedict of Nursia, the father of western monasticism, teacher of civilization, and luminous example of holiness. If we wanted to summarize his teaching, we could do it this way: Humanity has a single fundamental duty and task: to seek God, because a human being does not develop fully all alone and is not completely fulfilled all alone; a human being cannot be completely  happy without God or against God.

When all is said and done, Benedict merely represents with a different variation the fundamental thought of Augustine at the beginning of his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are ever restless until they rest in you.” This is also the source of his program of life for monks, summarized as “Put nothing ahead of the love of Christ.” And in this, dear brothers and sisters, consists that holiness that Pope Francis recalled and recommended to all Christians in his recent apostolic exhortation, “Rejoice and Be Glad.”

It is a call and a proposal valid for every Christian, more than ever in our epoch, when we feel the need to anchor life and history to solid spiritual reference points. This is the pathway of holiness that you too, dear sisters, must travel.

This is the only way that daily renewal will be possible, this is the only way you will be able to carry light to the world and to history, consolation and dignity to those deprived: by searching for God and putting nothing before the love of Christ. Now too the world needs women who belong completely to God and experiences of closeness; it needs women capable of generous service and of bringing people together; it needs women who love the Church and are obedient but who also know how to support it and stimulate it with suggestions that have matured in conversation with Christ and in direct experience in the fields of charity and assistance to the sick, to the marginalized, and to children in difficulty.

On this point, Pope Benedict XVI said, “It is the gift of a maternity modeled after Mary. The Madonna’s heart is the cloister where the word continues to speak in silence. At the same time, it is the furnace of charity that motivates courageous deeds from a place of a persevering and hidden form of sharing.”

I close these brief reflections, hoping that they are simply an expression, an affirmation of my esteem, my affection, closeness and encouragement.

I wish you every good thing in your personal apostolic life, and I assure you of my prayer, while I entrust myself to your prayer in this Eucharist you are about to celebrate. Have a good day and a good journey.