Saturday, June 24, 2006

Search in Schedules

Which Way Lord???
Wanna hear from the heart what God is calling you to be?
Come and be part of us as we, the Canossians, witness together as faithful bearers of hope and sharers of the Divine Mercy.
Join our Search In:
April 13-15, 2007
at the
Canossian Sisters
Impalambong, Malaybalay
Bukidnon 8700
April 10-11, 2007
Sto. Niño Parish
Panabo, Davao
Davao del Norte
April 18-20, 2007
at the
Canossian Youth Center
San Isidro, Talibon
Bohol 6315
April 13-15, 2007
at the
Canossian Fathers
Formation House
7, 17th St., New Manila
1112 Quezon City

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Canossian Sons of Charity in the Philippines

Thursday, June 15, 2006

St. Magdalene of Canossa

St. Magdalene of Canossa
Born in Verona, Italy, on March 1, 1774 of a noble family. She was the third of six children. Magdalene founded the Institute of the Daughters of Charity (Canossian Sisters) in Verona on 1808 and the Sons of Charity (Canossian Fathers) in Venice on 1831, through the instrumentality of two laymen from Bergamo, Carsana and Belloni, who offered her their services. John Paul II, on October 2, 1988, proclaimed her a Saint. She was a woman who believed in the love of Jesus sent by the Holy Spirit among those most in need. she served them with a mother's heart and an apostle's zeal.


She was a woman, a person like you and me. What made a difference is her awareness of God's love for her and His constant presence throughout the journey of her life: in the ups and the downs, in suffering and in joy, in times of darkness and of light, in her untiring search for direction and gradual discovery of the meaning and purpose of her life, in the failures and successes of her plans and apostolic projects, above all, in her deep faith and trust in God, nourished by prayer.

Magdalene made a difference because of her passion to seek for "God Alone", to "love the poor", to "serve with a generous heart", to "make Jesus known and loved" by all sorts of creative means. She was truly a Contemplative in Action.

As we share her story with others, let Magdalene also invite us to reflect on God's great love for us, and if we feel inspired, to share the story of God's great love for us.

The Arrival of the CANOSSIAN FATHERS in the Philippines

The Canossian Fathers presence in the Philippines started in the hinterlands of Samar. They began the mission in Jipapad, Eastern Samar and in Conception, Arteche, Eastern Samar. The two pioneer missionaries are Fathers Vittorio Cavallaro and Eduardo Lanzalaco. They are working in a place wherein a road cannot reach because of circuitous rivers and unconquered mountains that isolate the two places.

In 1986 upon the invitation of then Cardinal of Manila, the late Most Reverend Jaime Cardinal Sin, the CANOSSIAN FATHERS in Italy sent some Fathers to start a mission and to open a Seminary in Manila.

The opening of the Seminary (here in New Manila) gave the chance to many young men to follow Christ in the priestly and religious life. Fathers Stefano Arnone and Carlo Bittante were the pioneers of the New Manila (Seminary) Community. Father Stefano returned to Italy.

Not after a long time the pioneering fathers started the mission, that is the Vocation Animation. They invited young men to attend search-in, forming prayer groups, youth encounters and personal contacts.

In November 6, 1987, Father Giovanni Gentelin arrived from Italy to complete the team. The following year, the Pontificio Instituto Missioni Estere (PIME) Fathers gave way for the Canossian Fathers to exercise their ministry to the poor. Eventually, they gave to the Canossian Fathers the administration of the San Pablo Apostol Parish in Magsaysay Village. From then on the Canossian Fathers flourished. Now, the Canossian Fathers is present in Marikina (for the Novitiate and Postulancy Program) and in Tala, Bataan as a chaplaincy of the Parish of St. Josephine Bakhita. Father Gerry Bongcawil, the first Filipino Canossian, is the chaplain.

The Apostolic Objective: To Become Ministers of Charity and Servants of the Poor

A gift that makes the Canossians free and pushes them to translate in adequate works the love contemplated in the Crucified Christ. The Canossians are called to evangelize the poor through the ministries of Charity.

Ministries of Charity

The Daily Oratorio
· The work in which, traditionally, the apostolic activity of the Institute is best identified.
· It expresses the efficacious and humble service of the Christian community for the benefit of the youth in particular, through Catechesis, Christian Education and Spiritual Exercises.
· It allows the Canossians to manifest the main characteristic of their spirit which is a heartfelt friendship, a simplicity in dealing with and a constant presence to others.

Works of Assistance
· The Canossians have in their works of assistance the possibility of a continuous formative action, through a ministry of assiduous charity, at times tiring, in favor of the youths who are poor and abandoned.

· An area where it can express the Canossian apostolic charism done in response to the needs of the Church while keeping in mind the concern of the Foundress.
· In Parish Ministry, the Canossians are to remain faithful to their spirit of humble hidden-ness and always paying special attention to the poor and the youths.

Foreign Missions
· The universal character of their vocation is well manifested in their call to live out the same charism in every country, even in those of the missions, through works required by indigenous poverty.

Founded on the love that knows no boundaries, the APOSTOLIC CHARITY of the Institute can be expressed even in other forms which actualize the service entrusted to them by the Lord Jesus of giving witness to his love and for the poor.

The Ascetic Journey: A Way to Love in the Humility and Obscurity of the Cross

The great mystical ideal of the “Crucified Love” attracts the Canossians and determines their Vocation. Their life demands, however, an Ascetic path that may conduct them to the realization of this ideal. St. Magdalene indicates the way that Christ has traced for them: IT IS THE GREATEST LOVE LIVED IN THE HUMILITY AND OBSCURITY OF THE CROSS.

The Vow of POVERTY
· Pushes them to detach their lives from the search of the wealth and helps them to identify in Christ Crucified who makes himself servant, choosing to stay in the side of the poor.

· Involves a path of maturation in the love that makes free in the heart and capable of progressive detachment from our own family, from all selfish forms of friendship, of affective need and from non-coherent behaviors with their celibate choice.

· Directs all their lives to privilege the Will of the Father.

The Mystical Experience: Seeking Love in Christ Crucified

The face of the Father is disclosed in the Love of His Son Crucified. The Canossians, predestined to be conformed to His Son’s image, are transformed in that same image and become witnesses of an authentic love of God and neighbors.

The Five Mystical Experience of St. Magdalene of Canossa

First Mystical Experience: The Eucharistic Celebration

Magdalene at a very tender age felt the calling of God. While attending Mass, a reading from the Book of Tobit made an inner impulse in her. “When you are praying in tears and did not hesitate to leave your dinner in order to hide the dead in your house by day and bury them by night, I offered your prayer to the Lord.” (12:12-13) this reading gave her a clear idea of assisting the sick whom God never failed to put along her way throughout the period she stayed in her family.

Second Mystical Experience: Personal Prayer

The Psalm 51:14 called the Miserere Psalm; it is the prayer of David saying, “I will teach transgressors the way to you and sinners may return to you”. This Psalm encouraged her to teach Christian Doctrine to her fellowmen and women and thus she began to explain the Catechesis every Sunday to her maidservants especially those who could not attend Mass because of their work.

Third Mystical Experience: Missionary Impulse: Eucharistic Celebration

Almost every time she heard at Mass the Gospel according to Mark (16:15) which reads: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation”, she was always deeply moved and filled with consolation. Although she did not cry easily, her eyes would fill with tears.

Fourth Mystical Experience: Eucharistic Celebration: Divine Glory (Psalm 62, Isaiah 7)

The same happened when she had attended Masses having the Divine Glory as theme and for which she had, since then, always a great attraction. The very mention of “Divine Glory” would suffice to touch her heart deeply. Especially during those years, she had such a strong desire to prevent sins that, besides spending all she could possibly dispose of on various occasions, she would have turned her blood into gold if she could, thus faced death many a time. Above all, she had very much at heart the reunification of the Greek and the Latin Church.

Fifth Mystical Experience: Personal Prayer from Exodus 25:40, Hebrew 8:5, Acts 7:44

During the Holy Week while reading in a small meditation book the verse “Look and follow according to the example”, she experienced an inner stirring, so strong that it remained with her for several days. She felt urged to follow the Crucified Christ but without understanding anything in particular. Six or seven months before going to Venice to start the Foundation, in prayer she had a similar experience. It was an intellectual enlightenment and it was neither as intense nor as deep as before. She believed that it was that she took virtues of Christ Crucified for inspiration to write the Rules of the Daughters of Charity, that is, of the Institute.

The Vocational Choice of Magdalene

Her vocation started to develop at the age of fifteen. The call of God was express in giving totally herself through the happenings. Her first Spiritual Director was Fr. Stefano de la Concezione and then Fr. Gasparri who moved her towards the Carmelite experience. She was actually inclined to the contemplative. For them, the Carmelites was the vocation of Magdalene. She stayed ten months with the Theresians and three days with the Carmelites. However, she felt horror of the cloistered and she was force to leave.

In the house, she lived in the palace caring for her sick uncles and the acting mother to her sisters Eleonora and Rosa. The wife of the uncle was sickly, so she had to care also of the house. At this time, a new confessor entered her life – Fr. Don Luigi Libera. He helped her in her vocational growth. He suggested her not to take any decision and to stay at home for one year.

However, Don Libera guided Magdalene in her vocation journey. The good priest assisted the Marchioness to a progressive liberation from her multiple tensions. These tensions arose in the past, the problem in her vocation, from everyday trials and in some measure, from a situation contrary to her deep aspirations. Don Libera pointed out the means to lead the Marchioness to assimilate Christian spirituality until she made it her own according to the requirements of personal charism and of mission.

The ways that Don Libera proposed were the following:

1. Prayer of heart
It is a prayer of contemplation wherein the young lady was advised to allow herself to be open to new and brighter prospects. This is also a practical norm in disposing oneself to enter into a dialogue with God. This is also a way of turning our heart frequently to God.

2. Devotion to the Eucharist
It was not a costume to receive Holy Communion but Don Libera granted permission to Magdalene to receive it everyday. This is to strengthen the soul of the young lady to overcome some obstacles imposed by her uncle Jerome. Moreover, she was advice to visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. Don Libera said to her “continue to receive the Holy Communion frequently and stay at His feet and adore Him”.

3. Devotion to Mary
At the age of seven, Magdalene entrusted herself to the Our Lady of Sorrows. Don Libera strengthened this devotion by asking her to recite the Litany of the Our Lady and to recourse to Mary every now and then for her maternal solicitude. Magdalene was enrolled in the Association of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.

Don Libera continued to direct the young marchioness until he asked her have also spiritual direction to other priest named Msgr. Avogadro, who advised her to work independently of others.

The Experience of Pain and Suffering of Magdalene

Magdalene had a strong contact with the suffering. When she was a baby she was not accepted because she was a girl. The parents wanted to have a boy. Her noble family was quite strict. At the beginning, Magdalene appeared to be extrovert and decisive type. When she was five (5) years old when her father died. At the age of seven (7), her mother left. According to the psychologist, these events touched deeply the life of a child. The child saw the death of a parent as to be abandoned by them. Thus, Magdalene started to be more introverted. The other problem was a family teacher, Ms. Capron, a person that was not so sincere but who kept the external appearance in a great esteem. At the beginning, Magdalene was appreciated, but later on persecuted by the instructress. This would contribute to create in the young Magdalene a lot of scruples. When she was fifteen (15), she got seriously ill. This for many was considered the real beginning of her vocation. She got the moral strength. Fr. Libera helped her to overcome her insecurities and to rebuild her personality.

The Charity Situation of Verona

On this time, there was a strong mystical tendency and the inspiration towards charity was moved by the model of St. Francis of Sales. What Francis could not do in the practical way at his time, Vincent de Paul did with the plan for the Daughters of Charity. The Ignatian spirituality was alive with the Franciscan and the Passionist. Again, on this time, the seminaries were recognized and, in the school, they studied with eloquence. Preachers came out and Christ started to be seen as a Pastor.

The line of Magdalene was the one of charity. On this century, in Verona alone, there were about 20 new congregations approved by the Holy See. Ten of them in the first half of the century.

The Illuminism started the philanthropic movement. This challenged the Christian mentality to move and, as a consequence, there had been numerous charity institutions starting.

The Religious Situation in Verona

The religious situation is deeply touched by the happenings. Monsgr. Morosini was the bishop on 1773-89. The clergy was quite open to the new ideas. Monsgr. Morosini was a noble bishop. He had been “imposed” by the Republic of Venice. His theological ideas were of the Agustinian school. He started some reforms within the Diocesan Synod and fought the “devotionism.”

On 1790, Monsgr. Avogadro, a Jesuit, was appointed bishop. He was also of noble origin. (At this time, the Jesuits were suppressed). He stayed in Verona with Fr. Fortis that would be the first General Superior after the reopening of the Society of Jesus. Monsgr. Avogadro was not loved by France and Venice. He reformed tha Catechesis and he brought back the philosophy of St. Thomas. The French Revolution happened. On 1804, he resigned.

With Napoleon, there was a great interference of the politicians in the religious life. The Easter of Verona followed and the Bishop was arrested.
The Bishop in prison was obliged to swear fidelity to the emperor. After his resignation on 1804-1806, Verona was without bishop.

On 1805, many convents were closed. And on 1810, all the remnant convents were closed.

On 1807-27, the bishop was Monsgr. Liruti. He was an anti-illuministic, a restaurateur. He was defender of an absolute obedience to the pope. At this time, the model of charity was the one of St. Francis of Sales and Vincent de Paul.

Social and Historical Situation of the Time

On 1789, the French Revolution broke out.
On 1796, the French invaded the North Italy; Napoleon closed down all the convents, but later Magdalene was able to receive some buildings from Napoleon himself.
After the Congress of Vienna, with the ‘restoration,’ the situation in Europe was ‘normalized’. Later on the first revolutionary movements for Independence start.
On this time, the prevailing ideas are the Illuministic ones that would develop in the Liberalism. These ideas entered in all levels.
Verona at this time was an important center; it was at the crossroads of south Europe.
Verona was deeply touched by the new ideas.
The city was part of Republic of Venice, the most conservative one and opposing strongly to the new ideas.
When Napoleon on 1796 came to Italy, he entered in Verona that would be a battle field and a hospital town.
Italy becomes a land to rob.
The countryside was attacked; the properties of the church were taken away. Stealing and violence was normal.
Because Verona was the center of the military operation, the government got the churches to be used as military hospitals. On this time, the Fraternity of the Hospital also developed.
In Verona, there developed a natural hatred for the French; Verona was also frustrated by the apathy on the Republic of Venice, she was oppressed by famine, she was also force to feed and care for the wounded soldiers.
On 1797, there had been the so-called “Easter of Verona,” that is, a popular rebellion against the French; this was headed by the nobles and the clergy.
A cruel bloody repression followed.
Many armies were passing over Verona, even the Russian (we can imagine the consequences for the city with continually new rulers, new laws news oppressor and thieves).
For a short time, Verona was even divided into two cities.
On 1815 with the Vienna Congress and the peace of Paris, there was more peace and stability for Lombardia e Veneto. Magdalene lived on this time. She was deeply touched by the concrete realities of the people, not so much by the politics. Her letters to Carolina Durini were without any political color, but were full of a great sensibility for the people; she was looking with humanitarian eyes the suffering of the people. She was touched by the poverty, the famine, the ignorance of the people. She was a noble so she did not have problems with the authorities, but she looked at the things in a different manner.

Magdalene of Canossa, Servant of the Poor and Foundress of the Canossians

Magdalene was born in Verona on MARCH 1, 1774.
On 1779 her father died, on 1782 she was abandoned by her mother.
On 1789 she got seriously ill.
Meanwhile in Paris, the French Revolution exploded.
On 1791-92 she had two short monastical experiences among the Theresian Sisters in Verona and the Carmelites in Conegliano Veneto.
On 1796, she was working with the Fraternity of the Hospital.
On 1797, she saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in a dream, revealing to her the three fields of work of charity (Education, Evangelization, and Assistance to the Sick).
She met Fr. Don Libera who would become her Spiritual Director until the year 1880.
On 1799, she jotted down her Foundation Plan: Plan B6 (The First Plan of the Institution).
On 1800, she became friend of Carolina Durini, a close friend that would last long.
On 1805, Magdalene had her first serious attempt of foundation.
On May 8, 1808, the real foundation happened in Verona.
From 1808-1812, Magdalene stayed in Verona, she would call this time a “retreat” because she lived in it a strong faith experience.
On the year 1811-1812, she had great mystical experiences.
On the year 1813-14, she wrote her memoir.
On 1815, she wrote the Rules of Venice, then the one of Verona, and finally the one of Milan.
On May 8, 1816, she had her Vow of Chastity in a private manner.
On July of the same year, she opened the house of Milan.
On 1819-20, she received the government approval and the canonical approval of three of the houses.
On 1820, she opened the house of Bergamo and she started to think concretely for the Sons of Charity.
On 1828, the opening of the House in Trento.
On December, she received the Canonical Approval of the Rules.
On May 23, 1831, finally, the foundation of the Sons of Charity.
On April 10, 1835, Magdalene died.
On December 7, 1941, Magdalene was proclaimed Blessed.
On October 2, 1988, a Saint.