Showing posts from October, 2010

Visit to Sr. Angelica Ballan's workshop

From the very beginning God has utilized and taught His people the importance of creating memorials and to place value on remembering the important matters of life through visualization. One does not even have to study scripture to see the factual importance and effectiveness of visualizing. Science itself has declared that humans are visual by nature, and that people retain more of what they see. One such person who operates from this perspecive is our sister, Sr. M. Angelica Ballan.
She recounts: 
For many many years now, I carry out my apostolate at the heart of the liturgical apostolate of the Disciples of the Divine Master in the area of art and sculpture. The demand for figurative art for chapels and Churches keeps me always on my toes, and more importantly it keeps me connected to the Lord who infuses interior strength into my soul and brings out a work of art which encourages those who look at it to be moved towards prayer and a deeper connection with the spiritual life. It i…

Visit to the ceramic department, Via Portuense

The first of our visits to the various workshops was to the ceramic department. Many people think that working in the ceramic department involves merely sculpting bits of clay, sticking it in the 'oven' and then painting the cooked plaques, however, after the explanation given by our highly competent and gifted Sr. M. Flavianna, we soon realised that each piece of pottery has a whole process behind it.

The word ceramic comes from the Greek word "κεραμικός" (keramikos),  "of pottery" or "for pottery", from "κέραμος" (keramos), "potter's clay, tile, pottery" which is said to derive from the Indo-European word *cheros (unattested), meaning heat . Nowadays the term 'ceramic' indicates the clay after it has been cooked at a very high temperature. Sometimes two or more different kinds of clay are mixed together, adding other mineral substances which gives the different types of ceramic. These materials which are added to …

Art at the service of the liturgy

Our communities here in Via Portuense, Rome are indeed hubs of activity. In every corner of the house, there are workshops where sisters use their gifts and talents to live the charismatic mandate of the Founder to evangelise through the liturgy, the Eucharist and the Priesthood. The striking thing about these workshops is the atmosphere of prayer and silence. This charismatic element of silence goes back to its roots in the Gospel as obedience modelled upon that of Jesus, the beloved Son of the Father. The Lord Jesus who in the Eucharist “reveals to us the meaning of the Scriptures and breaks the Bread for us” asks that we listen and obey him.
Through the liturgy of life and the life in the liturgy, we are committed to the rediscovery and realization of a mystagogical catechesis that strives to understand and communicate the mystery of Christ celebrated through symbols (Rule of Life art. 139). This is one of the reasons why we are so commited is freeing the creative dimension at the…

You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished! (VC 110)


History has widely been viewed as being an essential ingredient in the formation of identity. As we experienced during our pilgrimage to the places associated with our charismatic beginnings, going back to the roots of any family or Institute it's essential to remember that history is constructed in many ways. During these days whilst visiting many places in Piedmont we let the buildings, churches, schools and various other places tell their story. However the history of our religious family cannot be understood without the people and we had the blessing to listen to our 'elder' sisters. Now it's time to look at the history in detail. Thankfully, we have Sr. M. Joseph Oberto, pddm, with us during these next few days. Her task will be to lead us on a journey throughout the past hundred years or so, highlighting the key moments for our Congregation. Her departure point is taken from Vita Consecrata 110: "You have not only a glorious history to remember and to…

Pilgrims on the journey: Chiara 'Luce' Badano is proclaimed Blessed

Did you ever wonder what people in heaven do all day? Float on clouds? Wander around on gold pavement? Sing a cappella? Maybe. But many of us have the wrong impression if we think heaven is a perpetual resting home where we indulge our every desire and forget about other people.

The saints are at peace and are resting in the Lord, but it’s not the kind of rest that is oblivious to the world! No, they are always aware of us and are prepared to receive our prayers in love. Some people frown on the idea that we should pray to saints seeing it as a form of idolatry. But they have a misconception of the role of the saints. St. Paul tells us that we are a communion of saints, and a saintly communion, united with the Lord, is not divided by death. Those who are called to God might leave our earthly eyes, but they are present, and they are family and family members do not ignore each other when one of their own asks for help.

Think of the saints as agents of God. No, they are not just angel…

"Form a new heart and a new spirit" (Ezekiel 18,31)

Ok, so we're back in the community which will be home to us until the 26th of November! After settling back in, greeting the sisters, we're ready to take our studies and continue the experience of the Trimester.
Today we began our course with Sr. M. Celine Cunha who will accompany for a few days on topics regarding human formation.
Our first class was spent looking at the heart as the centre of emotions of the person. By doing a quick brainstorming exercise we realised that there are various ways of seeing the heart: physical, sentimental, spiritual, emotive etc.
The Scriptures teach us that the seat of the pyschic life, sentiments, of the will, of reason, virtues and vices are all found in the heart! The heart is the centre of affectivity: my capacity to experience myself and others at various levels which include emotions, sentiments, passions and motivations. This is a very important area for any religious but in a particular way for those preparing and journeying toward…

Adieu Sanfre!

  It's time to say goodbye to our dear sisters and begin the journey back to Rome! It's been once of the most important and significant lessons in which we have participated so far: lessons in the school of life. We have learned so much from these joyful, prayerful, courageous, faith-filled, down to earth women who have been powerful witnesses of how to embrace old age and sickness gracefully with faith, dignity and trust in the Master's plan. In prayer we continue to be united, us younger ones rely on the prayers of our sisters who sustain us in moments of difficulty and doubt, encouraging us to keep our gaze fixed on the real reason for following Jesus; that is, on Jesus himself. Our thanks to you for being who you are finds its expression in our prayer for each one of you, for the special intentions which you may have, especially those who are in pain and undergoing great suffering. For each one of you, open to the beautiful nature of your home in Sanfrè and its surrou…

Day 7: Remembering the past so as to build the present


There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when our bodies are lowered into the earth out of sight, and the third when our loved ones forget us. Catholics forestall that last death by seeing the faithful dead as members of the Church, alive in Christ, and by praying for them and asking their prayers for us : always! Over the past few days we have visited many buildings, especially Churches, resting in prayer and recalling the needs of our Family throughout the world, thanking God for the marvels which He has carried out using the humble brother and sister Paulines. We have encountered the living history written in the lives of our sisters and brothers who are now preparing for the Final Journey home in our communities for the aged and infirm.

However one last visit was to be made: to the graveyard. The earthly reminder of our brothers and sisters here in this consecrated place reminds us: " You are dust and will return to…

Day 6: Guarene

Guarene is another commune in the Province of Cuneo, a small picturesque town with a small population of about 2,500 people. Despite being a minute town, it boasts historical monuments and churches which can be traced back to 1382. The first of these buildings which catches the eye is the Guarenese Castle, poised high on the hill, one of the most dignified and beautiful dwellings for the counts and countesses of the 16th century.

The main reason of our visit to Guarene is to revisit the birthplace and associated places of our first mother, Mother Mary Scholastica Rivata, first Disciple of the Divine Master. In Via Luccio, Guarene, Orsola Rivata was born on the 12th of July 1897, the first born child of Antonio Rivata and Lucia Alessandra. In this same house, Lucia returns home to God after the birth of the fourth child, thus leaving this young family orphaned of their mother. Soon after, Antonio moved his family a mere two doors down the road as the house began to get cramped. When sh…

Day 5: Alba- the return!

After greeting the Lord with our morning praise, we headed back to Alba, our little Bethlehem, for a busy day of visiting lots of churches!!! However, each one of these are part of the mosaic which composes the history of the Pauline Family. Each one of them have a special significance and have left an imprint on the life and the formation of Fr. Alberione. When we arrived in Alba, we arrived right in the middle of a mini fun-marathon so the town was alive and buzzing bright and early! "Corre sotto il torre"- a delicate play on words which translates in English as 'Run under the tower' is an annual event for young and old which involves running the 1 kilometre track around the town. Our first stop on the agenda was at the Cathedral of Alba, which happened to be the finish line for this funrun so we got to meet many Albese people. In a way, we were a mini- tourist attraction, a colourful group of young sisters from 8 different countries. Many people were surprised to …

Day 4: Alba

With tales of long ago in our minds and hearts we set off on the road again, this time to Alba! The emotion and excitement was palpable in our little minibus, especially for those who were visiting Alba for the first time. Alba is the cradle of the Pauline Family, here everything was born, here are found the first houses of the Society of St. Paul, the Daughters of St. Paul and the Disciples of the Divine Master.Alba is a town and comune of Piedmont, Italy, in the province of Cuneo. It is considered the capital of the hilly area of Langhe which is famous for its abundant vineyards and hazelnut trees. For us in the Pauline Family it is the holy land from which almost all of the first vocations came from.
Our first stop was to the huge complex of the Society of St. Paul which houses a number of realities. The Disciples of the Divine Master have a community there with sisters giving service to the priests and brothers in the infirmary, kitchen and laundry, as well as the co-ordination of…

Pit stop: Biography of Fr. Alberione

The biography read at the beatification of Blessed James Alberione on the 27th of April 2003  
Fr. James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline Family, was one of the most creative apostles of the 20th century. He was born in San Lorenzo di Fossano (Cuneo), Italy, on 4 April 1884 and baptized the following day. The profoundly Christian and hard-working Alberione family, made up of Michael and Teresa Allocco and their six children, were farmers.  Little James, the fourth child of the family, felt the call of God early in life. When questioned by his first-grade teacher as to what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied, “I want to be a priest!”. His childhood years were directed to this goal.
When the Alberione family moved to Cherasco, in the Alba diocese, the parish priest of St. Martin's Church, Fr. Montersino, helped young James to reflect on God's call and respond to it. At the age of 16, James entered the seminary of Alba and immediately met Canon Francesco Chiesa, wh…