Mother M. Scholastica Rivata and the desert of transformation

As the Lenten journey continues, my thoughts today went to our first sister Mother M. Scholastica Rivata. Today, 24th of March, we commemorate 30 years since she returned home to God. She was a woman who was not afraid to move through the 'desert of transformation', certain that even the Paschal mystery with all its sorrow and confusion, would lead her to the glorious celebration of the Resurrection, the explosion of life and joy upon the earth.
The following is a brief reflection from our current Mother General, Sr. M. Cesarato on the ocassion of the translocation of the earthly remains of M. Scholastica from Sanfre to the Church of Jesus Master in Rome. It also marked the opening of the cause of her beatification which is underway, having reached the stage of presenting the 'Positio'. The positio (Positio super Virtutibus) is a document or collection of documents used in the process by which a person is declared Venerable, the second of the four steps on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood. The reflection is quite Lenten in outlook, it speaks of the daily Via Crucis upon which Mother Scholastica walked through the years of our turbulent history as a Congregation and as a religious family.
"As a woman of relationships; a woman of profound communication with Jesus the Divine Master to spread the Gospel throughout the world and foster its growth in all hearts. Mother Scholastica speaks to us more through her life than through her words; more by her silence and her smile than by exhortations; more through her serene and penetrating gaze, habitually in adoration of the Lord, than by taking a stand. Mother Scholastica drew from the secret of superabundant joy, in the midst of many tribulations, by mirroring herself daily in the Eucharist and uniting herself to the Eucharistic offering of the Divine Master, who became Bread broken and shared for the life of the world. God continues to smile through the face of Mother Scholastica, who followed Jesus Master as his disciple. A humble and ardent woman, she bore witness to the wonder of remaining with God.

This is the secret of the beautiful smile Mother Scholastica retained over many years, while keeping her many sufferings hidden in her heart. Her joy arose from that faith by which she confidently placed herself in God’s hands. Mother Scholastica crossed the desert of transformation. From her initial choice, which caused her to exclaim: "Lord, you alone are enough", to the consummation of her offering, she recognized the lasting joy which comes from giving one’s entire life in service. Even in the most difficult trials, Mother Scholastica chose not to be sad, nor to complain or consider herself a victim. She allowed the vitality of Christian joy to fill her heart and radiate from her face. The secret of this lasting joy, the mature fruit of the Holy Spirit, lies in love offered for the lives of others through the apostolate. It is wonderful to contemplate the beauty of the life of this woman consecrated to God.  It has an enduring value because it draws from the Eucharistic source of light and clothes her with simplicity and beauty. Are we still attracted by this Gospel joy today?"  (Sr. M. Regina Cesarato, pddm)
For me, Mother Scholastica is already a saint because her whole life mirrored Christ, Crucified and Risen. Her immense suffering in many ways made her stronger to the point where all of her life she was able to say: "You alone Lord, are enough". I have felt the strength of her intercession in many key moments of my life, especially when I was called to walk the desert of my own transformation, at times alone and confused. I looked to her and saw that smile which reflected a deep interior relationship with Jesus. Her response to his amazing love was always love, a love which freed and was freeing. I continue to pray that more people will come to know about this little sister who is such a vibrant model for us Disciples of the Divine Master, especially for the younger generations who look to her life for guidance, support and discipleship!


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