Gratitude, Joy and Kindness in the Mission
ÂOpen your heart widely to the tender sentiments of the most profound gratitude and let your life be a continuous act of thanksgiving for the favor that God has granted you, inspiring the desire and giving you the will to consecrate yourself to HimÂ (A R. III,86).
Â Your gratitude should not limit itself to words alone, but let it show in your zeal to consecrate yourself everyday to your God, dedicating yourself to whatever he asks of youÂ (AR. III, 87).
"Remember that the souls who are already converted, just as those who will be converted, have to learn from the religious, to love Jesus Christ always more and more. Try to draw the infidels to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and of the Church by the most eloquent preaching of good example" (C.M. III. 44).
''Let us take care, for the greater glory of God, that what has been understood in the heart, the Crucified Lord, should shine out, in such a way that the persons who are in contact with us may be edified, recognize us as true daughters of the Crucified Lord, our Father and, because of this, be inspired to practice virtue" (C 62, III, 56).
"Observe this well: that your joy may be a joy filled with fdelity to the graces that you receive and above all, a great joy for the zeal for your salvation and that of others" (A R., III, 76).
' [The religous] should look with kindness, have a cheerful, open, peaceful, countenance without embarrassment, without effort a kind, pleasant attitude, meekness and piety capable of winning over the hearts. Religious modesty helps her to avoid a proud and disdainful demeanour, that which e.xpresses inconstancy or lack of mortification" (:M.E. III, 89).
ÂIt is necessary for a religious to understand the importance of the call that she has received, called in a special way to reproduce holiness, to have a modest look, a serious demeanour, a simple behaviour. The rule of St. Francis is the most rigorous one, and also gentle because the rigors are prescribed that is, commanded in time of health and not of illness" (ME. III 90).
Â May the zeal for the salvation of souls increase in us, as we work to make God known, loved and served by all" (AE. III 98).
ÂWhat constitutes merit before God is not the greatness of our actions, but the fervour of the soul and the greatness of the motivation: it is purity; the sublimity of our intentions" (AR. III 83).
"The goodness of your actions does not depend on the splendour with which they shine in the eyes of men, but on the will which carries them out" (AR. III, 88)."
Servant of God Fr. Gregorio Fioravanti OFM (1822-1894)
Oh Lords let your light shine
The Servant of God, Father Gregorio (Ludovico) Fioravanti, Founder of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Sisters, was born on April 24, 1822, in Grotte di Castro (Viterbo), a small village near the lake of Bolsena. He was the last one of nõne children, and belonged to a simple and modest family, in which, even though he lost his mother when he was sõx years old, he was educated õn the fear of God, in assiduous prayer and in laboriousness.
Already, as an adolescent, he manifested a personality inclined to be reserved and determined and a clear and reflexive intelligence. In 1838, at the age of 16, he entered the Order of Friars Minor in Orvieto, where he took the habit of Francis and received the name of Fray Gregorio; a year later he .made his solemn religious profession.In 1845 he was ordained a priest in Viterbo. He was, first, professor of philosophy in Rome, then he was sent to Venice as professor in the Theological Study Center of St. Francis della Vigna. He distinguished himself by his humility and serenity, and made, of his chair, the altar of his unceasing offering, and during twelve years he was the wise and respected professor of life for groups of young people. In 1856, when he was 34 years old, he was called to govern the extensive Venetian Province of St Anthony of the Regular Friars Minor.
When the three years mandate expired as Provincial Minister, Providence, by means and instruments, known only by the loving divine plan, disposed for him an encounter which brought a decisive change in his life. A young french lady, Mrs Laura Leroux, wife of the Duke of Bauffremont, eager to found a convent, came to him asking help to begin a new institute of Franciscan religious ; because of his advice, she oriented it towards the apostolic missions Fully obedient to God's Will, with great sacrifice and humility, impelled by apostolic zeal, he accepted the heavy task of guidõng the new foundation of the Franciscan Tertiaries for the missions, which, according to the wish of the Duchess,was canonõcally erected, in Gemona del Friuli, on April 21st, 1861.
Though the beginning of the Institute was very promising and gave great hopes, soon the Servant of God found himself to be the only one responsible for it, with difficulties and unspeakable sufferings, because of the departure of the Duchess (1863). The painful and heroic story of the origin of the Institute, marked deeply by the cross, celebrates the invincible fortitude, the heroic patience, the wisdom and laboriousness of this humble Franciscan who assumed the most unpleasant tasks, only for the glory of God; he had to face mortifyõng protests and threats, in his fidelity to God, to help so many young consecrated, for the purpose of taking the Word of salvation to the brothers and sisters who were far away and in need.
He wrote and, several times,. modified the Rule for the new Institute, being an exemplary guardian and a wise guide in order that, by all the sisters would be loving observed, in communion of life, witness and apostolic zeal. In1865, he was able to send the first group of missionaries to North America, to serve the migrants, the orphans, the poor. In1872 he began a new Mission in the Middle East, where the sisters dedicated themselves to the education of the poor and abandoned youth . For this the Servant of God, though he never travelled outside of Italy, has been recognized as an Apostolic Missionary. Later, in 1885, he also opened a ÂmissionÂ in Italy, where he collaborated with the work of the Church gravely damaged by anticlericalism and on account of the greatly diffused ignorance. He continued to be close to his Institute with untiring love though at that time he was twice re-elected Provincial Superior of the Friars of the Veneto Province, during very difficult times for the religious, affected by the Italian suppression (1866). Attentive to build up and to guide , especially by example and limitless dedication to all, he served God õn silence, without claiming anything, without defending himself even when he was lead through trials of solitude and abandonment. He spent the last years of his life living a completely hidden life, transforming his time into prayer and offering it for the istitute which, nevertheless, he saw that it was flourishing and extendõng. Struck by a sudden illness at the end of the eucharistic celebration he died on January 23, 1894, in Gemona in the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the convent of his daughters whom he had directed and supported during 34 years.
The last blessing for all the sisters, the present and those of the future, was most moving and still maintains the full efficacy of the sollicitude of a Father.
Today, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart carry out their apostolic service in 20 'mission' countries of Europe, America, Asia and Africa.
The Cause of Canonization was introduced in Udine in 1990, and in 1995 it was taken to Rome to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, where it follows the necessary requirements In January 1997, it obtained the positive vote in the esamination of the historical consultation.
Prepared by Pontifical University Urbaniana,