MONTFORT MISSION AT LIBRINO - ITALY
“Let the Mercy of God touch you”: this was the invitation that the Daughters of Wisdom, the Montfort Missionaries and several families of the “Resurrection of the Lord” parish community sang, proclaimed and announced in the main streets of Librino. To mark the Tercentenary of the death of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, apostolic missionary and the “good father” of the poor, the Daughters of Wisdom and Montfort Fathers lived a public mission in a periphery…the best place they found was Librino in Sicily, Italy.
A bit of history
Librino is a large area of Catania with very few services, devoid of places for gathering with the parish being the only social space for encounter and solidarity. The neighborhood is considered at risk in terms of crime where drugs are readily available and where children do not go to school. However, the parish community of Librino is vibrant and attentive, committed in the community and intensely exposed to the spirituality of Montfort.
The Daughters of Wisdom present in the neighborhood since 1989 and the parish priest, Father Salvo Cubito ardently desired this mission like a breath of fresh air on a hot day, because it gave new impetus to the parish community and reached out to those who were farthest from the Church. As Pope Francis said, we chose to go to the outskirts …of existence.
Towards the periphery
On May 7, feast of Blessed Marie Louise of Jesus, during Pentecost novena, the parish priest, four Montfort Missionaries, thirteen Daughters of Wisdom and about 40 participants from the parish with Friends of Wisdom were hard at work. On May 8, in the presence of Mgr. Salvatore Gristina, Bishop of Catania, the group delivered a firm “Here I am” and every person received the cross of missionaries.
As a beating heart, the mission had two movements:
The first was outward, to reach “wounded humanity” in homes and schools. The missionaries went to meet, listen, announce the good news of the Gospel and visit the sick.
The second was in the parish with moments of prayer and celebration such as: the renewal of baptismal promises, enthronement of the Word, adoration of the Cross, washing of feet and dinner with 100 poor from the neighborhood, the 50 and 60 year jubilees of consecrated life of four Daughters of Wisdom, celebration of mercy, pilgrimage from the sanctuary of the Madonna della Roccia to Madonna della Sciara (Belpasso), and finally, the crossing of the Holy Door and the Covenant with God.
Like the missions in the time of Montfort!
Throughout the period of the visits to the families, a group of persons stopped to adore Jesus in the tent of the Eucharist placed near regularly visited buildings. It is Jesus who is at the center of the mission as in the life of each Christian, and we filled our hearts with Him to bring Him to others.
We tried to reach all age groups, the elderly, the sick, young adults and children to participate in for various activities:
A Eucharistic celebration on May 22 closed the mission with the blessing of a statue of Father de Montfort erected in the Church square. Time of grace and mercy! Time of celebration and joy! In the evenings, there were moments of friendly sharing of ideas and food, with people simply taking time to chat in a pleasant family atmosphere. May the God of all Mercy maintain alive this movement of our Founders and of the Montfort family that brings life to the peripheries of the hearts!
TIME FOR PRAYER
WITH THE FOUNDER AND THE CO-FOUNDRESS IF THE DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM
Daughters of Wisdom and Friends of Wisdom of Ravenna, Italy
As in the past, the community of the Daughters of Wisdom celebrated the month of Mary with the feast of St. Louis Marie of Montfort and of Blessed Marie Louise of Jesus (Founder and Co-Foundress). This year we gave special emphasis on May 2, 3, 4, highlighting the Tercentenary of the death of the Saint and on the 7th, the Birthday of Blessed Marie Louise. This occurred in Ravenna, Italy, San Rocco parish, in May 2016.
Saint Louis Marie consecrated his entire life seeking Divine Wisdom and at the service of the poor. It is in that context that he wrote different works: Treaties, Canticles, Rules for different groups…etc. His most famous work is “True Devotion to Mary” that John Paul II loved so much.
Our prayer for the two commemorations was inspired by the theme proposed by our General Council:
“Let us be transformed by the gentleness, compassion, hospitality of Christ Wisdom.”
This theme is related to the experience of Montfort and Marie Louise in their abnegation and unconditional dedication to the poor.
For the first time, the Friends of Wisdom (Canada) developed a reflection/prayer on this theme.
Our small team of Sisters and several lay persons met in a climate of serene spirituality, of committed participation and mutual enrichment. We adapted the text to our reality, the Month of Mary at the parish.
The prayer took place with an active participation of a diversity of committed people in an atmosphere of great devotion and profound recollection. The way the meetings were organized was greatly appreciated and enabled an intense and transforming prayer.
The diversity of texts (songs, reflections, prayers, decades of Hail Mary), and readers spread among us the joy of praying together and of sharing our aspirations to goodness, humility and mercy.
The group asked the Sisters to sing Hymn 124 composed by Montfort: “O Wisdom come, a poor soul begs you” to highlight what is specific to our origins.
The Saints that we celebrated shared the following traits in their death:
Same hour, same day, same month, same place: Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, France!
This is surprising but we are assured that, in the context, the events are not due to chance. They are not coincidence. They arouse in us an important interrogation on the Mystery.
May Montfort and Marie Louise bless us and help us to grow in Christ’s attitudes of gentleness and compassion.