Rome /Italy, April 18, 2021.
“Look at my hands and feet: it’s me! Touch me… do you have something to eat?”
(Luke 24, 39.41)
Dear Sisters and Candidates,
Based on the confident abandonment to Divine Providence, we (Superior General, Provincial Superiors, Delegate and General Councillors), after a week of prayer, study, reflection and sharing of important issues for our Religious Family, we want to send our Message to all, like the Disciples of Emmaus, who, after meeting Jesus on the road and his recognition “when breaking bread” (cf. Lk 24: 30), return to the community, full of joy, to announce that Jesus is risen.
We began our meeting, challenged by the words of Pope Francis: “In today’s world, with so many open wounds, are we moving forward indifferently? [or] Are we like the Good Samaritan?” (FT 64), and, thus, we wonder how we are close to “the fallen by the way” (FT 68), who is often the Sister beside us. The Good Samaritan Evangelical scene, the basis of the papal document Fratelli Tutti, who accompanied us during the week, is an invitation to be “mercy towards the most fragile” (FT 64), so we will build a new world. We are all called to be close, “take care of each other, give ourselves sincerely to others” (FT 195), avoiding the great and “worst danger: not loving!” (FT 92).
Motivated by the prophetic words of Mother Maria Luisa Contotti, we were led to a profound reflection on the experience of our Charism and our fraternal life in community and how we are developing our Mission. Following her words:
[…] we must certainly invent something new. But, first of all, there is an urgent need to change something within us and in our Communities, in order to take root deeply in the spirituality and the Charism of the Congregation. Make our relationship with God and our prayer more authentic, make our community relations and our lifestyle more evangelical, and make our testimony more transparent. [Emphasis added]
Dear Sisters and Candidates, the conscious and active experience of the inheritance left by our Founders, which is our Charism, is realized and made concrete through choices discerned and guided by the Holy Spirit. Through them we will be able to face the challenges, be faithful to the memory and act with a vision of the future, always looking for the good of our brothers. Let us not forget what are the proper virtues that make up our Charism and that we are called to live and witness daily, through our Mission: Confident abandonment in Divine Providence, poverty, love of work, prayer, simplicity and humility of life, balance between prayer and work, loving dedication to childhood and youth and spirit of family.
Fraternal experience in community is permeated by our human and relational weaknesses, however, we must not forget that we are called to accept these weaknesses, and also those of our co-sisters, in order to open ourselves to trust, solidarity and common search new paths. On the other hand, let us be sure that the grace of God always accompanies and reaches us so that we can live, consistently, the values proper to Consecrated Life.
In this line of reasoning, we must remember that we are not alone. Beside us, brothers and sisters walk with us, often also carrying heavy burdens. Pope Francis, repeatedly, walnut says that “alone nobody is saved”! It is necessary to open up to the other, to welcome, to walk together, to feel co-responsible, to seek solutions together, to value, to go out of oneself to meet that Sister, that employee, that child, that elderly person, because we are all “in the same boat” and the Lord has a predilection love for everyone!
From this Sunday’s Gospel page, Pope Francis highlighted three verbs that, according to him, “are very concrete verbs”, with great reach in our personal and community life: to see, to touch and to eat. These actions see against everything that we reflected and shared during the week. When talking about these verbs, we want to relate to our life and let them challenge us, leading us to a greater commitment and creative fidelity to our Charism, in our mission.
In the face of indifference and selfishness, which is often present in our society and in our Communities, Jesus, bluntly, invites us to see and, this seeing, requires an intention and a will from us, because it is not enough to look, you have to make a commitment. According to Pope Francis, seeing “is one of the verbs of love”, as it is the first step against the great temptation to pass on and not see the fallen brother. Then, Jesus invites us to touch and that implies “closeness, contact, sharing of life”, acceptance, relationship with Jesus and with the other. It is not enough to see, it is necessary to touch! In the parable of the Good Samaritan, which opened our week of Encounter, this foreigner “did not limit himself looking at the man who found himself half dead along the way: he stopped, leaned over, took care of his wounds, touched him, carried him on his horse and took him inn”. This is the attitude that we must have with the poor, with the suffering, with the excluded, as these are “the suffering flesh of Jesus” that needs to be touched and healed. Finally, Jesus asks for something to eat. When we talk about this action, we are talking about something essential in our life: eating, nourishing, satiating hunger. Unfortunately, around us, there are still many who die of hunger. Does this sad reality touch us? What we do? Do we pass on, indifferent? On the other hand, Pope Francis tells us that eating “when we do it together, in family or among friends (and, we can say, with the co-sisters), it also becomes an expression of love, an expression of communion, of celebration…” Let us celebrate, dear Sisters and Formandas, let us celebrate the joy of living in community, of sharing our journey with others, of welcoming and being welcomed… let us celebrate the richness of our diversity, in the experience of being of Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence!
In the face of the pandemic that we are experiencing, we praise God for the testimony of our communities in the tireless and anonymous search to alleviate a little the serious consequences of this pandemic. In the certainty of the Resurrection, we express our solidarity with the Sisters who lost their loved ones, and we continue to pray for the relatives affected by Covid-19. And, yet, we reiterate the request for everyone to continue taking care of themselves, observing the recommendations of the local health authorities. Let us not lose hope, because “whoever abandons himself in God and trust, throws himself into the deep waters of perseverance and learns that ‘the darker the night, the brighter the dawn will be!’ (Dom Helder Câmara)”.
With Pope Francis, we consecrate each of our Communities and the suffering world in the hands of Mary.
O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and hope. We trust in you, Health of the sick, who at the cross were associated with the pain of Jesus, keeping your faith firm. You, Salvation of the Roman people, know what we need and we are sure that you will see that, as in Cana of Galilee, joy and celebration return after this time of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform us to the Father’s will and to do what Jesus tells us, who took on our suffering and carried our pains to guide us through the cross, towards joy resurrection. Under your care we seek protection, Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our supplications, we who are in trial, and deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin! Amen!
To all of you, our brotherly embrace and best wishes for a happy walk!
Sr. Giovanna Morelli, Sr. Barbara Cristina Ferreira Britto, Sr. Maria José Barbosa dos Santos, Sr. Carolyne Mutambi Chiboli, Sr. Gleicy Kelly Rocha, Sr. Maria das Dores Paz, Sr. Ana Maria Gomes da Costa e Sr. Donata Montagnoli
Mother Lina Maria Girotto
 Letter from Mother Maria Luisa Contotti, May 13, 2007 (Prot. N. 682/07).
 Extraordinary Moment of Prayer in Time of Epidemic, presided over by Pope Francis. St. Peter’s Square, Friday, March 27, 2020.
 Message from Pope Francis, Regina Caeli, April 18.
 REUNGOAT, Mother Yvonne. Perspectives for a renewed charismatic fidelity in the management of the works. Magazine: “Consacrazione e Servizio”, November and December 2020, pag. 36-44.
 Message from Pope Francis, Regina Caeli, April 18.
 AZEVEDO, Ademir Guedes. A Christian spirituality in times of coronavirus, April 20, 2020.
 VIDEO MESSAGE FROM HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS on the occasion of the Day of Prayer and Fasting. Sanctuary of Divine Love, March 11, 2020.