Moments with Fr. Annibale…

Avignone Quarter, Italy
Avignone Quarter, Messina, Italy

A beautiful moment experienced in Rome, Italy that lingers in my mind was when I joined the International Juniorate. We were four junior sisters come from different communities and with different nationalities: Africa, Korea, Italy and me from Philippines. It was a historic-charismatic year for us. We  visited historical places and were deepening the Charism of the congregation “Rogate”, which means to Pray. A part of the Juniorate activities was visiting the historical places where Father Founder Annibale Ma. Di Francia and, with the collaboration of Mother Nazarena Majone who was one of our first Sisters, established some communities. While doing this spiritual pilgrimage, I intensely felt his presence every time we visited a place like a church or convent that was very significant in his life. It seems that he was the one telling me “Sr. Cielo this is where I met the beggar Zancone who challenged my life”, “this is the place where I helped the poor in this squatters area of Avignone”, “this is the first convent of the Sisters”, “in this Church I was baptized”, “this is where I was ordained”, “this is the church where I prayed and felt the intuition of the importance of praying for vocations that is so strong for me”, “this is the place where I spent the last days of my life”. That was a significant moment and a beautiful spiritual encounter with Him. I am glad that I had this privilege to visit the places that has helped me a lot to deepen my knowledge about Him, the Sisters who work hard for the congregation, the knowledge of the culture, the people and learning of the Italian language.

St Annibale meets Zancone
Fr Annibale meets the poor and blind Zancone who challenged Father’s life.

On this day of your birthday that we are commemorating, it is a joy for me to remember that you were born for a purpose for the congregation and for the Church. A life you have dedicated for the love of the harvest, praying for good and holy labourers that the Church has benefited. What a mission – you are not here but you continue to challenge us, your spiritual children, to pray and to become what we pray so that we may live what Jesus has commanded us according to his heart which is merciful, loving and compassionate. Happy Birthday! Auguri! Cheers!

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