The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, the "Scalabrinians", are celebrating their 125-year anniversary. For the occasion, the "sisters of the migrants" have organized online events and moments of prayer through initiatives around the world that will last an entire year to renew their commitment to the migrant community.
The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, also known as the "Scalabrinians", are celebrating their 125th anniversary. Since their founding on October 25, 1895, they have been the "sisters of the migrants."
This year's jubilee is an unusual one, given that it comes in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, in the 27 countries of the world where their missionary communities are present, they have organized online events and moments of prayer and reflection.
The initiatives will last an entire year, and will start in Piacenza, where on Sunday a Mass was held in the city's cathedral, in the same place where one can see the remains of the order's founder, the Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini.
'Always walking' towards migrants and refugees
On that October 25 125 years ago, in the presence of co-founder the Venerable Father Giuseppe Marchetti, four pioneering nuns (the Blessed Mother Assunta Marchetti, Carolina Marchetti, Angela Larini, and Maria Franceschini) made their first vows.
Sister Neusa de Fatima Mariano, superior general, commented on the sisters' work. "The appeal that Pope Francis made to us, saying 'I encourage you to put your charisma increasingly in the service of the Church', still echoes strongly in our heart," she said.
"The expression feeds the historic memory, crossing the past with the present, not remaining only within this celebration, but living in the heart of migration, 'not only as a memory of the past, but as a prophecy of what is to come', with attention on the challenges of our time, following Jesus Christ, 'always walking' towards migrants and refugees," she said.
"In the grace of this jubilee time, we want to continue the journey confirmed in faith and hope, walking humbly with our God," she said.
'The face of Jesus Christ is in many migrants'
"The face of Jesus Christ is in the many migrants in the world who flee or take refuge," Sister Neusa said. "It is a suffering face, but full of hope.
The Scalabrinians have always welcomed with open arms, in the profound spirit of Jesus who always asked to open hearts and look at the world with pure eyes. We've been doing it for 125 years and we will continue to do it, with that same passion of the first sisters, in obedience to the evangelical mandate, 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me'."
The religious celebration on Monday took place in the presence of Monsignor Luigi Chiesa, vicar of the bishop of Piacenza, Adriano Cevolotto.