The Sisters of Charity and "Pastoral Charity"

Friday 9 September 2022
The Sisters of Charity and "Pastoral Charity"

One of the keywords that are often found in the Identity Charter of the Salesian family is "pastoral charity". This apostolic passion was "the spiritual energy that drove [Don Bosco] to seek souls and serve God alone" (Art. 12). This has been transmitted to the Caritas Sisters through the first Salesian missionaries in Japan. Above all, our founder, Fr. Antonio Cavoli, was endowed with the love of the Good Shepherd, who left the 99 sheep to look for the lost one and risked his own life for it.

As a priest of the diocese of Rimini, the young Fr. Cavoli lived an intense and serene pastoral life, surrounded by devout faithful, but he was not happy. He couldn't help but think of the souls of those who didn't come to church. This "restlessness" led him to go to the front line as a military chaplain, convinced that "the priest is not a priest for himself, but for others; his life does not belong to him, except to spend it for those who need him." (His autobiography: From Italy to Japan)

While leading a fruitful pastoral life, risking his life for the salvation of the souls of the soldiers, he was terribly distressed to see so many souls who lost their lives without being reconciled with God. He decided to become a missionary to reach out to those who did not know God's love, despite the opposition of the bishop, his parish priest and the parishioners who were waiting so long for his return. 

And thus, he became a son of Don Bosco who was a true good shepherd of Charity.  It was precisely the spirit of Don Bosco's "da mihi animas, coetera tolle", which was transmitted to us by our Founder. This in fact characterized the first group of Sisters who gathered around him, with their devoted and heroic service of love of the poor and their exceptional sacrifice. The founder remembers the six nuns who died after the war due to extreme poverty and exhaustion.

 "I have never seen, and never did I imagine that I would see such calm and peaceful deaths, resigned, eager to fly to their eternal bliss, to receive the well-deserved reward of a heroic life of work, sacrifice, humility, supported by the ideal of charity." (From his autobiography: From Italy to Japan). We are convinced that this heroic and sacrificial love is source of the foundation of our Congregation. 

The Society of today, with all the comforts of life, there is always the danger of falling into compromises, both in the apostolate and in community life. We believe that our spirituality does not consist in seeking difficulties from our daily lives, but in the willingness to offer the various crosses that arise in our daily course of living. As the Salesian Identity Charter says, in order to grow in pastoral charity, we must continue to commit ourselves to "the readiness to be there and to remain there willingly, in self-renunciation and sacrifice, with chastity towards affections and self-control in attitudes. This should move us towards participatory listening and patience towards others, in waiting to identify the most appropriate moments and ways, to forgive and to reconcile with others, in order to continue to believe with unlimited hope". (Art. 32. Salesian loving-kindness)


Last news

News Categories