Without the others we cannot be ourselves10 March 2022
Handmaids: "The love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor 5:14)
"By virtue of his or her particular vocation, the individual person belonging to the distinct Groups is an envoy, therefore called to carry out the common mission according to the role entrusted to him or her, and to the capacities and possibilities that are proper to him or her". (Identity Charter of the Salesian Family #15)
The Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are religious dedicated to the service of the local Churches. They enter parishes and dioceses with a missionary spirit, animating groups that work within the ecclesial structures. They live Mary's 'Fiat' attitude and ready adherence to God's will. They are always ready to forgive according to the word and example of Jesus. The spirit of the Institute founded by Bishop Rt. Rev, Gaetano Pasotti SDB can be defined with three short and demanding verbs: 'love, serve and forgive'. In every activity and pastoral service, the Congregation's motto, 'the love of Christ impels us' is translated into daily gestures of availability and fraternal openness.
The love of Christ drives us and is the motivation to do good to all. Bishop Pasotti lived this totally in the various experiences of missionary life in China and Thailand, and bequeathed to us, as well as to his Salesian brethren, the audacity to go out of oneself to seek out the needy and proclaim to them the good news of the Gospel. We were born as a religious institute to serve God and to help God's people, particularly the Thai people, as Bishop Pasotti expressed in his missionary existence: 'Thai people for Thai people'. This is why it is necessary to go out with a humble and passionate heart, totally willing to give oneself to save souls, to do good to all, driven and always sustained by the love of Christ, without letting so many fears discourage the gift and passion of love.
As St Francis de Sales wrote 'the love of God is called grace insofar as it beautifies the soul, because it makes us acceptable to the divine Majesty; it is called charity, insofar as it gives us the strength to act well'. (Introduction to the devout life, chapter: 1)
Bishop Pasotti used to tell the first Handmaids: 'In doing good, the only motive is charity. They will make themselves everything to everyone; they will shine by meekness of heart and humility. If they must suffer insults or ill-treatment, they will bless the Lord that they have been made worthy to suffer anything for his name' . Bishop Pasotti's fundamental teaching reminds us that we must not be afraid to do good for God and for others because this is a clear sign of the authenticity of a charism, it is a sign of ecclesiality for a community, a congregation, and its ability to integrate harmoniously into the life of God's holy people for the good of all.
In daily life we must always encounter Jesus to grow in his love, especially in difficult times, as Bishop Pasotti experienced, and do what we can to glorify the Lord our God in often challenging situations. Bishop Pasotti, always zealous in the work of evangelisation, was also particularly effective with his sermons and mediation of mercy with the ministerial service at the confessional, especially on feast days, in the various mission parishes. While doing good to everyone, he acted always for the salvation of souls and to praise God, who offered him ever new opportunities to do good as a loving father. In fact, Bishop Pasotti said: "The sisters must also be willing to help in any work of material and spiritual charity, such as visiting the sick, preparing them to receive the Sacraments, baptising children in articulo mortis, preparing them for Baptism and First Communion, taking care of orphans and girls in distress". Pastoral commitment of all-round charity is still a gift to the Church and to peoples today.
Sr. Aritsara Suripa SIHM