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Service in the Example of Mary at the Foot of the Cross

Servite Schools In The Third Millennium:
Discovering Roots, Creating Relationships, Developing Links
Fr. Hubert M. Moons, O.S.M.

Discovering Living Roots and Life-giving Roots (English)

  1. Discovering Living Roots And Life-Giving Roots (English)
    1. Our First Fathers
      1. The Search For Truth
      2. A Transforming Climate: Not Self-Centered But God-Orientated
      3. Living With Servites, Joining Them In Their Community
    2. Mary, The Mother Of God
    3. Mary Points Out To Jesus
    4. “Declaration On Christian Education” By The Second Vatican Council
    5. The Basic Question Is About Education And Formation (Pope Benedict Xvi)
  2. Creating Relationships (French)
    1. Making The Church The Home And The School Of Communion
    2. Creating Authentic Interpersonal Relationships Between The Members Of The Educative Community
    3. Creating Relationships Between Servite Schools And “Managing” Servite Friars And Sisters
    4. Creating Relationships Which Evangelize Or Pre-Evangelize, Which Refer To Christ
  3. Developping Links: Among Us And With Our Roots  (Italian)
    1. To Express Our Current Mandate And Our Specific Educative Mission
    2. To Develop Links Through An Internet Forum And A Permanent Website For Servite Schools
    3. To Develop Links With Unifas
    4. To Develop Links For Vocation Promotion

I. Discovering living roots and life-giving roots  (English)

How is it possible? Why can generations of persons be attracted by servites, by the servite way of life, by servite schools? A question of attraction, seduction? Who do they see, what do they listen to? Which are these roots: Our first Fathers, Mary, Jesus Christ, the Second Vatican Council, messages of to-day’s church, our catholic faith.

1.1. Our First Fathers

The Legenda de origine, a book written shortly after 1317 tells the story of the beginnings of our Order: the years 1233 - 1267; the coming together of our first Fathers in Florence, their living on this mountain until the beginning of the Generalate of Saint Philip Benizi. The story of their spiritual journey is of great value to us. I quote from nr.46:”The people kept coming from all sides to these godly men who began our Order and each of them carried back some benefit according to his own particular needs”. This statement has a concrete follow-up in our servite educational ministries. Immediately we are thrown beyond ‘values’. Education is a question of meeting persons who reveal us the real possibilities of our own being and who accompany a process of “becoming” or “transformation”. These persons, the first Senario fathers, bring about an awareness of every one’s new possibilities beyond limitations or darkness. What we discover in our first Fathers is what students are looking for in us:

1.1.1. The Search for Truth

The inhabitants of the Senario Priory are offering to those knocking at their doors a disinterested lifestyle characterized by truth. A description of their truth: ‘they practice evangelical simplicity, they love tenderly every virtue, and they do not mask real feelings behind stratagems and ambiguous words. They are truly simple persons who love the truth and are generous in sharing”.

1.1.2. A Transforming Climate: Not Self-centered But God-Orientated

Due to the contact with them, people’s lives are changed: happiness and joy appear and Christ really means something new for them: he becomes the beloved, the friend, the spouse, the supreme Good. The first Fathers introduce others in a growing and loving relationship with Christ. Those who meet them move away from a self-centered relationship. Walking together with Christ is a question of love.

1.1.3. Living With Servites, Joining Them In Their Community

What is the lifestyle they are offering? A new wisdom and a new value system based upon the gifts of the Spirit and the Beatitudes. These are the concrete priorities and options. Our founding Fathers become free, they hunger and thirst for justice, they are lovers of peace, they forgive, they are merciful. Educators in servite schools share this Founding vision.

Nr 48 of the Legenda describes their educational system in a medieval language: “By their word and example, as well as that of the friars who would follow in the Order, they would call many back from error and lead them to the practice of perfect virtue”.

1.2. Mary, the Mother of God

Servites are who they are because of Mary’s place in their lives. The first fathers indicate Mary as the resource person in their growth process and in their becoming an educational welcoming community. 
I quote some basic sentences from our servite constitutions, our rule of life: “We commit ourselves to be at the service of God and all people, drawing abiding inspiration from Mary, Mother and Servant of the Lord “(Const. 1).
 “We give ourselves in service to others and so prolong the active presence of the Mother of Jesus in the history of salvation” (Const. 73). 
“In our commitment of service, the figure of Mary at the foot of the cross shall be our model” (Const. 319).

In the life-giving discovery of our ‘roots’, we are invited to walk our pilgrimage towards our own personal encounter with Mary. We can consider e.g. her educational attitude: Mary has been educated by the history, by the heroic women, patriarchs and prophets, and by the Holy Books of her people. Open to the God of promises and to the Spirit she gives life to Jesus, welcomes Him as her Son but also as the Son of the heavenly Father in her life. She educates him respecting his own truth and the mystery of his person. She is educated by him when he does signs and speaks words she has to ponder in her heart. Education is a life-giving process welcoming others in our own lives without possessing them.

In our own servite educational project, this abiding inspirational presence of Mary is commented on as follows: ‘We have taken Mary into our own house, into our own lives. Servites look to her as a mirror to learn the essence of service and the gospel experience. We learn to be attentive listeners: she is an icon of the passion and the compassion of God for every creature. She is the creature with the all-embracing heart; the strength of her love which breaks down the walls of division has gone beyond the categories of friend and foe. She points to Christ whom she announced at different times and places’. 

The Sisters of the Congregation Mother of Sorrows Servants of Mary (India) retranslated this Marian inspiration into a concrete spirituality and educational praxis in their ‘Directives 2000’. Mary of the Magnificat is the icon of their pastoral ministry and ministry of education. In seven pages they relate reflections and praxis from Marian spirituality with this ministry of education. Some subtitles: Mary, the compassionate mother; Mary who lived consecrated to God and was involved in the life of her people; Mary the most beautiful; Mary the visionary; Mary the best student. This Marian praxis of compassion, of involvement in liberation, of a heart inclined to God, of sharing Mary’s vision, of understanding one’s place in God’s plan transforms society into in the reign of God.

1.3. Mary points out to Jesus

Mary points out to Jesus, the Servant. I would like to quote the servite constitutions “…Jesus, who was sent by God the Father to gather those who were divided into the unity of brothers and sisters. We... (Servites) are sent to extend our fraternity to the people of to-day who are divided by reason of age, nationality, race, religion, wealth and education”( Const.74).

Our vocation and our educational mission have their origin in our own personal meeting with Christ. A large part of his ministry consists in the education of his disciples making them aware and conscious of His vision and of his Father’s vision. His vision is expressed in terms of ‘the Reign of God’, and ‘the Kingdom of God’: an alternative to the concrete reality and to the roman occupation. Jesus wants to share his vision, his mission with others. In the midst of the educational community everyone is in someway a living memory of Jesus and of some of his words which are dear to generations of servites since many centuries: E.g. Luke 22, 27: “I am among you as the one who serves”; John 10, 10:”I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly”; Matthew 23, 8:”you are all brothers and sisters”; Acts 1, 8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”.

1.4. “Declaration on Christian Education” By the Second Vatican Council (28-X-1965)

We are part of a larger catholic community which has been renewed by the Second Vatican Council.  I quote from the ‘Declaration on Christian education’.

The Importance of Schools: Among all educational instruments the school has a special importance. It is designed not only to develop with special care the intellectual faculties but also to form the ability to judge rightly, to hand on the cultural legacy of previous generations, to foster a sense of values, to prepare for professional life. Between pupils of different talents and backgrounds it promotes friendly relations and fosters a spirit of mutual understanding; and it establishes itself as if it were a center whose work and progress must be shared together by families, teachers, associations of various types that foster cultural, civic, and religious life, as well as by civil society and the entire human community. Beautiful indeed and of great importance is the vocation of all those who aid parents in fulfilling their duties and who, as representatives of the human community, undertake the task of education in schools. This vocation demands special qualities of mind and heart, very careful preparation, and continuing readiness to renew and to adapt. (Nr 5). 

Catholic Schools: The influence of the Church in the field of education is shown in a special manner by the Catholic school. No less than other schools does the Catholic school pursue cultural goals and the human formation of youth. But its proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith. So indeed the Catholic school, while it is open, as it must be, to the situation of the contemporary world, leads its students to promote efficaciously the good of the earthly city and also prepares them for service in the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that by leading an exemplary apostolic life they become, as it were, a saving leaven in the human community. (nr.8)

1.5. The Basic Question is About Education, formation (Pope Benedict XVI)

The Pope answers the following question:” Why does the church pay so much attention to moral issues rather than suggesting concrete solutions to these problems like AIDS and overpopulation, which are so crucial to humanity, in Africa, for example?

 …So that’s the problem: do we really pay so much attention to moral issues? I think – I am more and more convinced after my conversations with the African Bishops – that the basic question, if we want to move ahead in this field, is about education, formation. Progress becomes true progress only if it serves the human person and if the human person grows: not only in terms of his or her technical power, but also in his or her moral awareness. I believe that the real problem of our historical moment lies in the imbalance between the incredibly fast growth of our technical power and that of our moral capacity, which has not grown in proportion. That’s why the formation of the human person is the true recipe, the key to it all, I would say, and this is what the Church proposes. Briefly speaking, this formation has a dual dimension: of course we have to learn, acquire knowledge, ability, know-how, as they say. In this sense Europe, and in the last decades America, have done a lot, and that’s important But if we only teach know-how, if we only teach how to build and to use machines, and how to use contraceptives, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we find ourselves facing wars and AIDS epidemics.

Because we need two dimensions: simultaneously we need the formation of the heart, if I can express myself in this way, with which the human person acquires points of reference and learns how to use the techniques correctly. And that’s what we try to do. Throughout Africa and in many countries on Asia, we have a vast network of every level of school where people can learn, form a true conscience and acquire professional ability which gives them autonomy and freedom. But in these schools we try to communicate more than know-how, rather to form human beings capable of reconciliation, who know that we must build and not destroy and who have the necessary references to be able to live together. In much of Africa, relations between Christians and Muslims are exemplary. The Bishops have formed common commissions together with the Muslims to try and create peace in situations of conflict. This schools network, dedicated to human learning and formation, is very important. It’s completed by a network of hospitals and assistance centers that reach even the most remote villages. In many areas, following the destruction of war, the Church is the only structure that remains intact. This is a fact! We offer treatment, treatment to AIDS victims too, and we offer education, helping to establish good relationships with others. So I think we should correct that image that sees the Church as spreading severe "no’s". We work a lot in Africa so that the various dimensions of formation can be integrated and so that it becomes possible to overcome violence and epidemics, which include malaria and tuberculosis as well.

II. Creating relationships  (French)

Some of us may have had the occasion to see how a spider make its web. It can be that a spider have inspire the first creator of a website. To me, the spider may show us how complex is our mission to “create relations”.

Creating relations through a constructive dialogue, through harmonizing diversities, through the evangelical values of truth and love, is part of the Servite mission of extrending our fraternity (cf. Const. 74) and to encourage the collaboration of all and everyone (cf. Const. 100) and to make visible the spirituality of communion to which John Paul II invited all Christians at the end of the Jubilee Year (January 6, 2001).

2.1. To make the Church the home and the school of communion

“To make the Church the home and the school of communion: that is the great challenge facing us in the millennium which is now beginning, if we wish to be faithful to God's plan and respond to the world's deepest yearnings.

But what does this mean in practice? Here too, our thoughts could run immediately to the action to be undertaken, but that would not be the right impulse to follow. Before making practical plans, we need to promote a spirituality of communion, making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed, wherever ministers of the altar, consecrated persons, and pastoral workers are trained, wherever families and communities are being built up. A spirituality of communion indicates above all the heart's contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity dwelling in us, and whose light we must also be able to see shining on the face of the brothers and sisters around us. A spirituality of communion also means an ability to think of our brothers and sisters in faith within the profound unity of the Mystical Body, and therefore as "those who are a part of me". This makes us able to share their joys and sufferings, to sense their desires and attend to their needs, to offer them deep and genuine friendship. A spirituality of communion implies also the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a "gift for me". A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to "make room" for our brothers and sisters, bearing "each other's burdens" (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy. Let us have no illusions: unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without a soul, "masks" of communion rather than its means of expression and growth.” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo millenium ineunte [January 6, 2001], n. 43).

2.2. To create authentic interpersonal relationships between the members of the educative community

To create authentic interpersonal relationships between the members of the educative community: the Servite values pass through relationships of communion, that is, solidarity, mutual esteem, corresponsibility in the educative project – in order to reach a complete education of the person – between all those who are members of the educative community: students, parents, teachers, services and administration staff. The relationships express and show is the proposed and taught values reach the persons and influence the context.

Each school is a microcosm which reflect and announce the situation of the society. The school prepares us to live in society and to leave in it the marks of our charism. Let us give a look on the microcosm that is the school: on the co-presence of different levels of faith among the students and the staff; on the fact that many students and staff members are not practising Catholics, not even baptized; on the increasing number of persons coming from other religions that Christianity and/or who come from other nations or from different races. We find among the members of the educative community some rich people and some poor people and different visions of the world, different ethical principles and political options.

In the relationships, a question is raised to all : why did you choose to be in a Servite Catholic school ? From the answer (to this question), we may establish a relationship. For all, to enter into a relationship means: to live an awareness of our own truth, a faithfulness to our own identity, to be well and happy, to be open to others, to experience the sense of the complementarity, dialogue and diversity, to live inclusion and tolerance, welcoming, common responsibility for the concrete educative project. It means to learn to live in the world with “others”. From now onward there is a new task : to create harmonious relationships, for example, through dialogue with persons from other beliefs, through a direct understanding of the racism mechanisms, through a study on others and learning from others, through tolerance. It is all about creating harmony, a mosaic, in a diversity with the help of the Spirit sweeping over our more or less chaotic situations.

The school achieves and prepares to a dialogue beyound different borders. Schools teach a Servite Christian identity, which is from now onwards to be lived nearly everywhere in a multi-confessional and multicultural context. The experience of the schools in missionary areas or regions, in which Catholics are a minority, and the dialogue with these schools can be very valuable.

2.3. To create relationships between Servite schools and “managing” Servite friars and sisters

To create relationships between Servite schools and “managing” [gestionnaires] Servite friars and sisters and vice versa:
I attended many chapters: there are sessions, in which friars or sisters examine and plan their common endeavours in a responsible way (cf. Const. 41) and in which they ask themselves whether the works of the community constitute an authentic witness and a true service (cf. Const. 94). The real world of the works, for example schools, unles it is about its financial statement, does not often reach the attention of the gathered friars of sisters. The educative situation, its complexity, its invitation to constant creativity, its bureau-cratization, its eternal newness of today’s youth, its challenges of families and without-famillies, its lack of hope, etc. is known and expressed inside other meeting places, such as the teaching staff, the administration committees, the corporations responsibles. The concrete educative reality seldom reach all friars or sisters in conventual, provincial chapters, or even local Christian communities and dioceses.

I see the same limitation in the opposite direction : the chapters, the gatherings of friars and sisters, the messages of UNIFAS (International Union of the Servite Family, born in 1987), etc. indicate priorities, such as, listening, dialogue, experience of God, service life, vocation promotioin, compassion, youth. These priorities do not become easily integrated in an educative project realized in schools and often do not reach the persons who are invited to propose and to educate to Servite values.
The meeting between schools and “administration staff” (“gestionnaires”) may take place on a local, provincial, national level, and/or in the Congregations and in the Order. Otherwise, the education and the schools risk to loose the bond with the value of collegiality to become the business of few people.

2.4. Creating Relationships Which Evangelize Or Pre-evangelize, Which Refer To Christ

To create relationships which evangelize or pre-evangelize, which refer to Christ:

Is it enough today to affirm that education as such is a dimension of the evangelizing work of the Church? The evangelization, the proclamation of Christ and his Good News, by the educative community is a concrete manifestation of the love of Christ for the youth in their life situations and their demands of realization. An aim of the Catholic school is to facilitate their encounter with Jesus, the man of Nazareth.

Jesus, often called “Master”, inspires a vision on education, which aims the development of human person in his/her dimensions : social, intellectual, spiritual, moral, emotional and psychological. This Jesus is at the base of a cultural universe, a way of living. But, in order that he become Christ, who is the Way, it is opportune that youth may experience in the educative community an evangelical and apostolic life, that they may experience a community life, even if it is only the small rest of Israel, who lives from the Word, who expresses a vision, who celebrates the Life of all and who listens, who welcomes and who all stands together (who are “solidaire”). The Servite charism reveals that fraternal relationships lead to a community. Let us immagine a Servite fraternity whose prayer life is done for and serves the prayer life of the educative community (cf. Const. 80-81); let us immagine a liturgy which takes into account the real situation of the school (cf. Const. 26); let us immagine an opened-door politic in order to communicate to youth the sense of fraternity and Christian joy (cf. Const. 92)

III. Developping Links: among us and with our roots  (Italian)

Why should we develop relationships among us?

3.1. To Express our Current Mandate and our Specific Educative Mission

a) to express our current mandate and our specific educative mission, which comes from the common identity of Servants of Mary, in a pedagogical language: 
The evangelical creativity of the Senario Servites is showed for nearly eight centuries in always new expressions, in places and ways, through persons who are at the source of the history of our schools, our Congregations and our Provinces. Like the master of the household in the Gospel of Matthew 13, 52, the various Founders Mothers and Fathers have brought out of the treasure of the Servite charism new and old things. Today we are to discern which evangelical word echoes more clearly in our hearts and in your dialogue since we are gathered on [Mount] Senario: a word that creates, a word that knocks down the walls, a word that sends us to the most needy among the youth, a word that unites, a word that connects us to our roots. Senario-Sonaio. We can offer the word that echoes among us to the experts in communication so that they make it resound without borders. The “creative word” that we say on the schools of the friars and sisters Servants of Mary relies on (needs/requires) your pedagogical expertise in order to reach each member of the educative community.

For example, during the past year, I often heard the echo of the word “compassion”. From the Message of the XXII Servite March [Walk] on May 13-14, 2006, from Alessano to Santa Maria di Leuca, Lecco, written by Fr. Piergiorgio M. Di Domenico, from the Servite Community of Arco, I quote: “Hidden in this secular history of our beloved Order of the Servants of Mary is the precious pearl of the compassion. A precious pearl that, first of all, delivers our heart from fear: fear of suffering and of death, fear of defeats that we encounter in life, fear of not to be loved, fear of not to be important at the sight of the world. Being therefore delivered [from fear], let us finally begin to take courage to feel as ours the life of others, rejoicing with whom is rejoicing, crying with whom is crying, and standing by the humanity of every race, culture and religion, let us read with a complete new vision the political, social and economic events in which human existence is involved, going to other readings, today prevailing, of the market, the social climbing, the subtle violence … It is our compassion which makes present and true God’s love: that from which no one is excluded, no one forgotten, neither the one who seems to be different or far from us, not worthy of esteem or even enemy. God first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4, 10) because only love may change human being, may make him/her better. May God’s boundless compassion make our hearts able to hear every voice, even the most humble and submissive voice, with respect and loving presence”.

3.2. To Develop Links Through an Internet Forum and a Permanent Website For Servite Schools

To develop links through an Internet Forum and a permanent Website between Servite Schools in order to say “our word” to many Servite Schools:
Communication and sharing between Servite Schools could, for example, be developped along the two following tracks:
- To share the real situation of the educative community of every school; to go out from isolation; to increase the sense of being and of being part of an international fraternity with a specific educative mission; to account the hope and the realized projects; to try some twinnings/partnerships and presences; ti invite those who are absent.
- for the religious among us: to create a laboratory as suggested in the no. 57 [to share our own educative charism] of the Document “Consecrated persons and their mission in the school” (by the Congregation for Catholic Education, October 28, 2002): “In the current situation, the educative mission in the school is always more shared with laity. If, sometimes even in the recent past, the collaboration took place in terms of substituting [a temporary job] for the lacking of consecrated persons needed not only for the management of the works of the Institute, but above all for the aim of living specific aspects and moments of the Institute’s spirituality and mission. The consecrated persons, therefore, have the duty to communicate their educative charism and to promote the formation of those who feel called to this same mission. In order to assume this responsibility, they will have to pay attention to commit themselves only in academic and administrative duties and to not fall into activism. It is necessary, on the contrary, that they pay more attention on the richnesses of their charism and that they commit themselves in developping these richnesses in answer to new social and cultural situations.”
How do we feel in front of this statement? Are there any experiences done or initiatives taken? Shouldn’t there be a group of friars and sisters, expert in educative service, in order to assume this mandate?

3.3. To Develop Links with UNIFAS

To develop links: connecting the International Commission of the Servite Schools in a permanent way with UNIFAS (International Union of the Servite Family):
One of the goals of UNIFAS is to one of expressing, leading and promoting collaboration in the Servite Family. The International Commission of the Servite Schools is moving since 2000 in that direction. There is an acting process in the Servite Family. Fr. Angel, Prior general and President of UNIFAS, according to the Editorial of Cosmo 3 (2006), invites the Servite Family to move from “being part of to being responsible of”. It is an invitation to develop further links on an international, continental and national level with the UNIFAS structures. The connection with the UNIFAS Council could be established, for example, through a correspondent. This would be a move toward that responsibility wished by the Prior general. The last International UNIFAS Congress, celebrated in last August [2006] in Mexico, made us reflecting on the youth reality. If we attentively read the final message, we may note that the Congress and the educators are raising the same questions: “ How do we approach young people? Are we transmitting gospel values to them? Are we bearers of peace and hope?” The International Commission of the Servite Schools could be one of the instruments through which UNIFAS concretely acts on the message: instead of reading the verbs in a past tense, please, continue to read them at the present of the educative reality: “… We analyze the reality of youth … We hear from the youth themselves … We express our desire to be a part of their life … We learn from them …” The interaction at different levels with UNIFAS helps the Commission of the Servite Schools to locate herself in the Servite Family and to become aware of a common mission that John Paul II, in 1989, interpreted in these words: “You have received a special charism of unity and fraternal harmony. Keep jealously this precious treasure on the example and with the intercession of your founders. And spread it in the Church, in the humanity which has so much need of harmony, peace and mutual understanding”.

3.4. To Develop Links For Vocation Promotion

Seduced by the beauty and the life growing in ourselves from being educators in Servite Schools, I consider in the section “To develop links” the question of vocation promotion, through the following question: in which way, being student, parent, teacher, and being of the the non-teaching personal, could I share the vocation and the mission of the Servants of Mary beyound the specific educative mission and/or experience?

The existing ways of sharing the Servite life in nations are many: Friends of the Servites; Servite Youth Groups; Associated Members of the different Servite Congregations; “diaconie”, that is, couples of spouses who live in their marriage in light of the Servite values; members of the Servite Secular Orders; members of the Servite Institutes; nuns, sisters, friars? These ways reflect the different moments in the journey of the Fathers to Mount Senario and from Mount Senario to the city and the development of the Order in Church’s history. A periodical and mature dialogue on the reasons of our own “yes” or our own “no” to such a sharing may enlighten the managing body of the school, a dialogue on the choices to make in regards to its different educative realities, on the most provoking questions of life of the educative community to the Servite charism, on the current energy in our own existence.

The Servants of Mary and their co-workers have, through the schools, a vision on future and a unique way of access to youth: they see the newness which emerge through them; they rejoice and suffer with them; they learn their language; they share their ways of commitments; they listen to their questions and demands. From this interaction and accompanying, some forms of Christian and Servite life, more suitable and accessible to the new generations, can see the light. I wish there would be among us some prophets like Saint Philip Benizi. In the perugian legend of St. Philip we read (no. 8): “Without doubt he [Philip] possessed the spirit of prophecy, for whatever he said, like an angel of the Lord, it immediately happened. During one of his visits of the Order, he was in Cesena, and there the man of God was sitting in the cloister. A certain boy, who was thought of as being disreputable and mischievous, was caught stealing from the garden by the gardener. The gardener then brought him into the cloister in order to strup him and whip him. The man of God saw the boy and embraced him with joy. He said to the gardener: ‘My brother, do not touch the boy because he is good and he will be your prior in our Order’. And so it happened. His name was Fra Bartholomew of Cesena, a good and worthy man.” 

As conclusion, from the final message of the recent fifth International UNIFAS Congress, I quote: “ we have a strong challenge as Church, but even more so as Servants of Mary: we must be authentic, simple and humane women and men in our dealings with them; we must show forth Christ and Mary in our daily living, that our testimony may impact the youth who are so desirous of action.  That which is essential in life is found in simple things, without many structures.”


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