We mean by holiness a quality of life worthy of great respect. The saint evokes an excellent level of morality in actions and in life and for this he arouses in us reverence and high consideration. In the Christian concept, he evokes still those who recognize Jesus as their Lord, live in the sanctifying or redeeming orbit, work according to the Spirit of God, and produce fruits of holiness, which are ultimately the fruits of love. On coming May 4th, the Church will officially present to us a new model of holiness in Fr. Henry Rebuschini. ‘Sanctity in the habit of every day life’ is the title given in this presentation, which does not mean holiness of work, so good, cut down in some way, good for palates not too demanding, even generous, not without charm, but a bit alternate current. This may be our holiness, of ordinary people, in need of much indulgence. But Fr. Henry was not an ordinary man. Of course, in terms of human achievements, or notoriety beyond the narrow confines of Como, Verona and Cremona, the three cities where he lived, one cannot say that he was an exceptional person. It is not a case of wasting for him synonyms as extraordinary, rare and unique model, leader of crowds or other. The lexicon of health, to represent the figure of Fr. Rebuschini, one makes use of more modest titles, which we detect from the canonical processes. I bounce them here in the hall, leaving to you affirmation and appreciation.
“However, all with infinite charity and sweetness”, declares Virginia Casati in Rebuschini, a cousin, to the judges of the court, who had him as a guest in her house in Capiago. Her nephew, Delia Rebuschini Vitali, rembering this writes to us on 10th May 1988, “I will never forget that humble and ascetic figure. His Masses are unforgettable, and they all raise us to a never-before-seen spirituality. His presence is perennially alive in me and accompanies the painful travails of my life.” She was married to Henry, a doctor, a nephew of our Blessed, two weeks before he died: he too came to the bedside of the dying Fr. Henry. He will have in his memory his rosary which he will hold in his hands, dying in captivity in Egypt on May 20, 1941.
He had an ability to love people which no reason could obscure. On the human level when there could be objectives reserved to love, the people were seeking the motivations of the spirit. God does not look on the ugly sides of people, and he should measure his conduct on that of God: “Be sons of our heavenly Father, who makes the sun rise over the evil and the good and makes it rain over the just and the unjust” (Mt 5.45). His was a serene love, which was made spontaneous by the long training; a patient and discreet love that did not impose itself, did not ask for reward, did not tire people, but attracted the people, conquered them. This is the love that God has for us.
Many witnesses emphasize his acceptance and hospitality either for a friend or for anyone whom he saw for the first time, for a person pleasant or with bumping, intelligent or rather retarded. He did not take into account the scorn or wickedness of social life and of community life also. Every man reflects to him the image of God, which is a serious concern for us “ordinary saints,” but not for him, accustomed by long discipline to look at the good sides of people and to discover, in the tangle of human experiences that had burdened them, some strings of positive light, some fleeting ray of God. But had there been any interlocutor, he was not authorized to judge him. The attitude of benevolence was the “habitus” of everyday life. Nobody felt excluded from his affection. He poured out all the riches of humanity that he had cultivated in his heart so as to be of real help to others.
During the novitiate, while forming his own religious personality, he felt in himself the tendency to criticize, and many ways of antipathy, even of aversion. One day he reproached himself for not having been able to count even a glance of charity. And soon he was determined to cultivate kindness and be animated by great respect towards his companions in order to be with them “in the amiability and in the disposition to pour out all of himself for their maximum good.”
Everyone recognizes in him the ability to meditate between opposing tendencies, the tactfulness in blunting the corners and in settling disputes, the naturalness in giving correct advice, without being pedantic and oppressive.
He had a clear sense of his own limitations. This can be seen when, for example, in 1934 he was appointed superior again at the age of 74, he considered that manifestation of trust as “a trial for the community and for him as well.” He passed the whole night in the chapel before the Most Blessed Sacrament. Infinite times he walked through the corridor that separated the office from the chapel, that corridor was a privileged lane for him, and confided the belief that he would act rightly in that way.