In 1983, while he was Superior of the community in Genoa, Father Mimmo (Domenico Lovera) was entrusted by the Provincial Council of Piedmont with opening a community for animation and pastoral care for vocations.
This ministry of his, exercised in Turing during the first years of his life as a priest, had its fruits – some young men (of that period!) are now Camillian religious!
Starting with mixing with, and the spiritual animation of, many youth groups, Father Mimmo looked for, and found, a Benedictine Cistercian monastery at the foot of Mount San Giorgio di Piossasco located about twenty kilometres from the capital city of Piedmont.
The initial period was principally dedicated to restoring the monastery, which was in a very bad state of repair, and making it habitable. From that moment onwards, the welcoming of many people commenced. Prayer groups began and, implementing the charism of St. Camillus, Father Mimmo began listening to people who were sick and in need of support and physical and spiritual accompanying.
There also arrived many young people who were looking for the pathways of their lives. With the passing of time, weekly meetings were planned in order to offer everyone a personal and intense experience of a vocational character with the Word of God.
These retreats for a period of time were organised at weekends in order to offer an opportunity over time for prayer and also for discernment meetings and conversations with Father Mimmo.
The journey of a small residential community in loco was also attempted but such a project needed greater resources and the more intense presence of Camillian religious.
Many vocations to the priestly and religious life found fertile terrain for growth specifically in the ‘Mother House’, as our community was called by the young men who were reborn specifically in that small chapel where amidst tears and hope they felt embraced by the Lord in the sacrament of reconciliation, in personal prayer, and in spiritual conversations.
Let us remember amongst very many vocations that of a girl who is by now the Abbess of the Capuchin Monastery of Moriondo; of a boy who left this house at the age of nineteen and is by now head of all the communities for drug addicts (almost sixty) which are to be found throughout the world and are under the Cenaculum Community of Sister Elvira da Saluzzo; and of four women who became women Ministers of the Sick and at the present time offer service in Sicily.
This vocational house is also a house of prayer and every week there are meetings of praise with the Renewal of the Spirit movement and prayer meetings for vocations, with silent adoration for the whole of the afternoon, ending – after supper – with the saying of the rosary and a celebration of the Eucharist.
Precisely because this is a vocational house, we began some years ago the Priestly Fraternity meeting: every two months many priests and deacons meet above all to experience an authentic moment of fraternal sharing.
Sometimes some bishops have also taken part in these meetings, with the gift of their teaching about the problems of today and in order to share faith, joys and problems.
Another activity of the house has been from the outset that of the welcoming, accompanying and formation of a number of lay people who wish to consecrate themselves with private vows according to the charism of St. Camillus. After fifteen years, these consecrated people already number about forty and the ‘Camillian Consecrated Group’ has enriched the spirituality and the initiatives involving charity of the Lay Camillian Family (LCF).
Each month the LCF meets in this house for formation on certain aspects of Camillian spirituality and addresses specific documents of the magisterium of the Church.
All its members are committed to living the Camillian dimension of service to the elderly, according to their own resources, in their jobs, in parishes, in private homes, in old people’s homes or in AVO and AVULS (for voluntary work in hospitals) associations.
In addition, many members are of valuable help in running the house which could not exist without this providential help.
The St. Camillus Fraternity engages in many activities but one in particular constitutes its special profile and its soul: many friends of the Camillians and members of the Lay Camillian Family have for some time been engaged in praying during the night and going on fasts to supplicate holy vocations that will renew the Order of St. Camillus.
of the Lay Camillian Family