A call to remember the feast of camillian martyrs of charity conference on 25th may 2018

Last May 25th, the Camillian Religious celebrated the 468th birth anniversay of their founder St. Camillus and the feast of the camillian Martyrs of Charity. From Indonesia to Brukina Faso and from Philippines to Bracil, there have been organized various celebrations in honour of St. Camillus and of the religious who sacrificed their life for Christ in serving their sick brethren.

On this feast day, in Rome in the Generalate at Piazza della Maddalena, the Camillian Disaster Service International (CADIS) organized a conference on the theme “To be martyers of charity in our time: in the school of our martyrs of charity for a revitalzation of the fourth vow.

Around 50 persons participated in this conference together with the following distinguished guests: Mother Lauretta Gianesin the Superior General of the Ministers of the Infirm, Mother Benimania Sbarbati, the Superior General of the Ancilla of Incarnation, Alessandro Pagano, the Honourable Dupety, Marie-Christine Brocherieux, the President of International Lay Camillian Family and Fr. Leocir Pessini, the Superior General of the Ministers of the Infirm (Camillians).

It was Fr. Leocir Pessini, the Supeior General who in the name of the Order welcomed the partiicipants to the Conference. After the institutional salutation, Bro. José Ignacio Santaolalla, the president of CADIS delivered a warm welcome to the various participants in the name of the Foundaiton evidencing very clearly the mission of this initiative of the Order: “to impliment, to direct and to coordinate helping initiatives to the victims of natural disasters or disasters provoked by human actions in any part of the world”, in continuity with the camillian tradition of intervention bringing help and assistance to the persons affected by epidemics, pestilences, famines, wars and other disasters in places where these victimes were found.

After the salutation of the president of CADIS, there followed the presentation of Fr. Aris Miranda, the director of CADIS, regarding the mission and the vision of CADIS and the objectives for celebrating the feast of the Martyrs of Charity. In his intervention, the director of CADIS after pointing out some facts of the history and the heroic tradition reflected upon the motives for the event which we were celebrating. He underlined that the principal of obejctive to celebrate this feast day is that of remembering, celebrating and imitating.

Remembering, that is, investigating, learning, creating a connection to live in the present the great lessions of the past. In serach of our identity whcih is charismatic and Christian and of our belonginness to the Order, the remembrance of this herioc tradition is an essential aspecct of our prophetic heredity. The heroic act, the enthusiasm and the availability of our confreres to accept the death in serving the sick in the name of the Lord must influence our way of offering ourselves in our service and in our witnessing.

Celebrating “to evidence the values of authentic heroic action of the person and of the particular historical event: to evidence the values of solidarity, task, generosity, abnegation, fraternal love towards the most needful, and predilection of the most vulnerable. These values pass through the veins and the nerves of our project, nourish and sustain our vitality, radicality and relevance amidst the social conditions which are in rapid evolution.”

And at last imitating that is exposing ourselves to the teachings and the values which help us to live our witnessing of the merciful love of Christ in ways always more accurate, pertinent and significant.

After having developed these three important elements, Fr. Aris invited the participants to a creative fidelity since the present situation does not guarantee more ample opportunities to exercise our fourth vow as lived by St. Camillus and the Martyrs of Charity.

Fr. Aris also explained the vision of the foudnation, which is summarized in this following phrase: fullness of life in a resilient community, which reinforces the principle of a sustainable development. It is the same human development, which recognizes the human dignity innate in all, a development which fulfills the needs of the present without compromising the capacity of the future generations to fulfill their own needs. This vision becomes reality through a 4R approach seen as a theory of transformation of the individual and the comunity affected by the diaster: RELIEF, RECOVERY, RESILIENCE and RIGHTS. This approach follows the cycle of the disaster management.

And to make this vision a reality in case of disaster, Fr. Miranda communicated to the participants that the conference is organized with a fund campaign of 25& for CADIS emergency directed to all the camillian religious and to all the persons who share in its vision. The objective of this campaign is to be able to collect funds for an efficacious and prompt intervention and to involve more religious so that the mission can be considered as their ordinary ministry.

Fr. Cinà in his presentation on the theme The Camillian Martyrs of Charity explained about the institution and the importance of this day dedicated to “the religious who sacrificed their life on the altar of the assistance to the sick” according to the expression of Fr. Angelo Brusco, the former Superior General.

According to him, to remember today the Foundation of CADIS during the celebration of the camillian martyrs of charity means “to actualize and to make it present the past event.” And this has “the scope of reaching out an updation of our charismatic identity, that is, a personal and communitarian self-knowledge more penetrating and qualified of our camillian consecration and therefore of our mission. It is because if the fourth vow which determines and characterizes our religous consecration, ‘making memory’ of those confreres who enjoyed the divine favour to exercise such vow ‘in danger to life’ until losing their life, becomes also a provocation of our being camillians today.” And this sense of the institution of this matifestation according to him remains somehow in willing to imitate those religious, not certainly in servile and repitive manner but in personal and creative ways, responding to the mutable social and cultural conditions but also religious conditions of our time. Besides, Fr. Cinà considers CADIS as an opportunity to live and imitate “those religous who made the camillian charism shine forth with living light.”

Bro. Luke, the second speaker, shared with the conference participants his experience and his task in the Camillian Task Force (CTF), the CADIS today. Developing the theme Camillian Charism, the Fourth Vow and Activity of CADIS, he sought to demonstrate how our experience through a multiplicity of forms and interventions in time of natural calamities is a real expression of the Charism and of living the demands of totality of the Fourth Vow. Immersing the foundation of CADIS into the history of the initial years of the Order, he affirms that St. Camillus can be considered the initiator of CADIS, making reference to many pictures which prresent to us the Founder and his intentions, being involved in helping many victims of pestilence in Rome or in saving the victims of one of many floods of Tevere. Referring to the book The Diakonia of Charity by Fr. Spogli, Bro. Perletti affirms that inspite of many difficulties lived by the Order in its history, the calamities the religious knew to fight against and to restore in every religious the knowledge of the charism stimulating in them in a race of exemplary donation in making themselves available to offer their service to the victims. In light of what is said, the ex-director of CTF believes that CADIS “is part of the camillian charism to live its radicality in the history, to reproduce in its action many traits of a merciful, flexible and creative God in His working and having the church as point of reference.”

The last speaker Msgr Bruno-Marie DUFFE was the secretary of the ministry for the service of integral human development. In his presentation on the theme Church in exist in the light of Magisterial Document ‘Laudato Si’ underlined with great particularity the importance of the dynimism of the exist. Exit to encounter the other, the suffering persons, and to become neighbours to the poor, to touch and to be touched. It is in this exchange that we construct a church for the poor and for the mother nature, a church which knows to listen to the cry of the poor and the earth. The cry which the camillians in living their fourth vow must know to listen and respond.

The conference was concluded with the projection of a video clip on the experience of voluntaries of CADIS of Sara and Giovanni a Ranja in Haiti and with the words of gratitude of the executive director of CADIS, giving appointment for the next year.