Celebrating 90 years as Disciples of the Divine Master

Today as Disciples of the Divine Master we celebrate 90 years of life as a religious Congregation! It is our Foundation Day! The name given by the Founder to the new group of sisters contains the term 'disciples' and to the first young person chosen, Orsola Rivata, to whom is entrusted the responsibility over the new religious family, was given the name Scolastica, that is, disciple. Fr. Alberione’s own profound experience of living God’s project with docility was itself an experience of discipleship. "Everything was school to him," he himself affirmed. As Disciples of the Divine Master, our life has been expressed since the beginning along the line of the Eucharistic mystery and with a style of life that is characterized by humility, silence, hiddenness, the spirit of sacrifice, and by unconditional giving of self.

Speaking about the name of our Congregation, the Founder also wrote: "The name of Pious Disciples comes from their office: they ought to accomplish towards the Divine Master the office of the Pious Women, of the first among the Pious Women, that is, the Blessed Mother: to adore Jesus, console him in the Most Blessed Eucharist, to stay in vigil before the Holy Tabernacle for love while burning more or better than the candles of wax, to invoke from the Divine Master the triumph of the Press and render the services that Our Lady did for Jesus and the Apostles. This is the summary of their humble life lived in silence, in love, in prayer, life that is remembered also by the habit that bears the colors of Our Lady, which is blue, with a flaming Eucharistic ray on the chest."

Sr.  Scholastica on her Profession Day
In 1924, the first steps were taken toward the foundation of a new Congregation. Orsola (later Sr. Scholastica), was to be instrumental in this great work.  Discipleship was to become the entire program of her relationship with Jesus, the Divine Master. Throughout her life, Scholastica dedicated herself to living the Eucharistic, Priestly and Liturgical apostolate. She was sustained and nourished in this ministry through her love for Jesus in the Eucharist. She found there the strength to welcome the God who often revealed himself through the cross and suffering. These were elements which deeply marked her radiant and simple existence.

Nourished by the word of Jesus,  Sr. Scholastica always knew how to choose the better part. Her life was directed entirely toward losing herself in love and to surrendering herself unconditionally to God’s plan for her life. In her journey of discipleship she was led on a journey of interior freedom and self- abandonment, experiencing suffering, uncertainty, darkness, failure, solitude and humiliation. All of these elements however, led her on a spiritual pilgrimage of transfiguration in Christ. Through her humble and serene lifestyle, Scholastica teaches us to rely upon God alone, abandoning our security and our plans, our own sense of self-importance so that God’s plans and desires may find a place within us.

The message Sr. Scholastica offers to the young people of today is that of making a decision for Christ. Recently her venerability was declared and so the Church affirms the holiness of her life. As sisters, we strive to bear witness to the centrality of God in our lives and we affirm that faith is the journey we undertake in order to open ourselves to God’s desires for our lives.To the future generations of Sister Disciples, Sr. Scholastica is a witness to God’s faithfulness. This witness is not simply for the Disciples of the Divine Master, but for all  people.

Saint Scholastica
The date given to our sisters as the date of foundation was not just coincidental. Fr. Alberione chose the feastday of St. Scholastica for her example and also for the influence of St. Benedict and his motto 'ora et labora' which is a strong element of our religious life. So it is with fondness that we celebrate the feast of St. Scholastica. St. Scholastica  is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.According to the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, the brother and sister spent their last day together in prayer and conversation. Scholastica sensed her death was close at hand and she begged Benedict to stay with her until the next day. He refused her request because he did not want to spend a night outside the monastery, thus breaking his own Rule. Scholastica asked God to let her brother remain and a severe thunderstorm broke out, preventing Benedict and his monks from returning to the abbey. Benedict cried out, “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica replied, “I asked a favour of you and you refused. I asked it of God and he granted it.”

Scholastica and Benedict leave us a beautiful example of saints who gave themselves totally to God and gave top priority to deepening their friendship with him through prayer. It is a huge blessing in our lives when we live relationships which are God centred and proclaim Jesus.The witness of St. Scholastica becomes a challenge for us in the midst of a humanity which seems to have lost a sense of meaning. We continue to call on these great saints to accompany us on our way especially as we as Disciples of the Divine Master continue towards 100 years of foundation! In the meanwhile, we bask in celebrating 100 years as Pauline Family this year!