Lettera Madre 1 July 2016
SUORE DELLA PROVVIDENZA ROSMINIANE
Via Aurelia, 773
My dear Sisters,
During this Jubilee Year, we certainly hear and read many beautiful and encouraging ‘words’ on the theme of ‘Mercy’.
While what a person says or writes can strike a chord with us and remain in our memory, it is the manner in which a person behaves, that has the power to touch our lives.
Approaching 1 July this year, the Anniversary of the death of Bl Antonio Rosmini, we call to mind the ‘life’ of our beloved Fr Founder. During his life numerous people from different social classes, communicated and discussed with him on a wide range of themes. Likewise in the last months and days of his life ‘the number of visitors to this illustrious sick man grew’. (Giovanni Pusineri, Rosmini, ed. Sodalitas).
We know, from the various witnesses, that his nature remained unchanged and constant during the course of his illness: in his last days, he also showed a disposition of forgiveness, of compassion, and of gratitude. Again he remained placid, peaceful and quiet and never spoke of the sorrows and persecutions suffered in previous years … On 14 June 1855, as the brethren knelt around his bed and began asking pardon of him for their failings, Rosmini interrupted, telling them that he never felt bitterness towards anyone: “I have always loved you … and always wished you every good … I therefore ask pardon of you and of the whole Institute that Providence has placed in my poor care. Let us be consoled, for in all our weakness we have the mercy of God ever-ready to pardon us.” (cf Leetham, p 471-6)
Those who visited him could not help but notice the brightness of his face … his usual gentle smile. On 17 June, following one of his many visits to Rosmini, Manzoni described the sentiments he had and his impressions of his Friend, in a letter to his wife, Donna Teresa: “as for state is his soul, if you want to form an impression more sincere and more vivid than my words could give, remember him as you have heard him when he was in health speaking of the ever to be desired and loving plans of God in our regard. In his sufferings even in the greatest (according to the flesh) that he can foresee, he can only find reason for gratitude”. In the following two weeks Manzoni kept his friends informed: “… his serenity, his attraction are still there …” and on the 27 June he wrote to his son in law: “What remains is the usual state of his soul. The resignation, or rather the full and natural consent of his will to God’s, the serenity that is its consequence, are felt in every word he utters, and in that smile that has not changed in a face that was so changed! ”. (Leetham, p 475)
These few reflections attempt to highlight the human and spiritual figure of Rosmini, underlining the feelings that inspired and accompanied him in all his various activities, but above all, it is an attempt to describe his ‘spirit’ through the words of friends, those close to him and his eyewitnesses.
In these, we get a taste of mercy and tenderness, which clearly reveal the personality of Rosmini and the experience of a life well lived.
We too can draw something new from the wealth of writings and spirituality of our Founder! I ask myself: what can I learn ‘today’ from the life and death of Rosmini?
We have no control over the words and actions of other people but we can have control over our own words and actions. When someone makes unkind comments or acts in hurtful and negative ways, we can be tempted to retaliate. In reflecting on the example of Rosmini, and his stress on ‘the one and pure truth harmonized with the most delicate brotherly love’, we ask him to help us to become people of integrity, compassionate, good to all, however others behave, and therefore live contented and serene lives.
During this year, despite the attempts to maintain our presence in Dublin, it became necessary to withdraw the Sisters from this community, and recently, on 1st June, the house was sold.
In the same way, Providence is leading us to withdraw the Community from Rovereto, after facing the difficulties of serious illness and health problems of the Sisters themselves; at this time there is no possibility of replacing them in their present charismatic mission. The educational work in the small Asilo will not suffer as a result, because it has been managed by lay people, for many years.
Closing a community or a work always causes sadness no matter where it is inserted. With regard to Rovereto, the birth place of Rosmini, our Fr Founder: the continuing presence of the Rosminian Fathers and the cultural heritage remains and there is always an opening, if in the future Providence should call us back.
Thank you to all the Sisters who with enthusiasm and sacrifice have been involved in these places, and who through their witness of faith in the Lord have promoted the mission, over many years.
At this time Sr Francesca Saveria is in Tanzania where she is accompanying the three Junior Sisters, Sr Marieta Philipo Maingi, Sr Anna Kilian Sanduku and Sr Helena James Kioko as they prepare for Final Profession on 1 July 2016 at Muheza, and as my Delegate will receive their Vows.
While we remember them in prayer we are united also with all those Sisters who this year rejoice in the celebration of their Anniversaries of religious life!
Greetings and a Happy 1st July to all!
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