The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo, Scalabrinians, was founded by Bishop Saint John Baptist Scalabrini, in Piacenza, on October 25, 1895, and has as co-founders the siblings: venerable Father Joseph Marchetti and Blessed Assunta Marchetti.
The congregational Charism was born at the time of the great italian emigration towards the Americas, at the end of the 19th century, as a socio-pastoral response implemented through Institutions of a religious nature. These continue in time through the ‘heirs of the charisma’ of Saint John Baptist Scalabrini: The Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo and the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo. More recently, the Scalabrinian Secular Missionaries have emerged, which also have in Bishop Scalabrini the inspiration to its foundation and enjoy the same charisma; there is also the Scalabrinian Lay Missionary Movement.
As time went by, the deep values of some elements present in history were recovered, such as the latin word “Humilitas”, a determining element in the life of the Founder, who, in turn, had received it from Saint Charles Borromeo, the patron, chosen by him, for the Congregations. From this Coat of Arms, the Scalabrinians learn to be humble servants, zealous sisters of migrants and refugees.
Accompanying migrants and refugees in their exodus, the Scalabrinians are inspired by Jesus Christ the Pilgrim who, on the road to Emmaus, is close to the pilgrims and who, with pedagogical sensibility, takes the initiative in a dialogue that leads the disciples to discover their identity, that is, the Truth. The person in mobility finds support and welcome in the Scalabrinian Sister and, in turn, the migrant assumes the role of teacher to them, as they constantly invite them to assume the experience of the charism among them and with them.
The mission is the evangelical and missionary service to migrants and refugees, especially to the poorest and neediest. Born in Italy, it expanded, initially, in Brazil and then in Europe (1936), in North America (1941) and, in recent years, in several countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The Scalabrinians consecrate their lives to Jesus Christ, according to the demands of the charism.
The Scalabrinians, throughout congregational history, have dedicated themselves, and still continue to serve through education, the social-pastoral action, in the service of pastoral care of health, catechesis, and especially in favor of the most vulnerable migrants and refugees.
Faithful to the charism and attentive to the challenges of mobility, the Scalabrinians welcome the Church’s proposal, placing themselves at the service of those involved in the drama of the migration phenomenon, being a sign of God’s tenderness and particular witness to the mystery of the Church, “chaste, wife and mother, motivated by the Words of the Gospel: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25,35).
What defines the spirituality of a Congregation is the way of life of its members. It’s the way to let yourself be guided by the Spirit of God. Spirituality is, therefore, the way a person lives the Gospel, how they live the faith. It’s a relationship with God Trinity. It’s to have the experience of the “first love” (1Jo 4,10-19; 1Cor 3,1-17; 1Ts 5,23-24). Holiness is the goal of spirituality, it’s the vocation of every baptized person. The God of Israel, in the First Testament (AT) revealed himself as “the Holy One” and called us to holiness (Cf. Lev 11,44; 20,26ff) and Jesus confirmed this truth: “Be holy like your heavenly Father is holy” (Cf. Mt 5,7-43; Lk 6,36).
Scalabrinian spirituality is a gift from God, not only something intimate for the Sisters, but it is like a perfume that expands every time someone serves. The Constitutional Norms of the Scalabrinians state that spirituality is: Christocentric in a Trinitarian perspective and feeds, mainly, on the Eucharist, the Word of God, devotion to Mary and the appeals of migrants, always in view of the expansion of the Kingdom of God in the world of human mobility.
Currently, the Congregation has its general headquarters in Rome. The Scalabrinians, living the charism received from the founder, accept the God’s love as a gift and joyfully assume the responsibility of spreading it to all those who suffer the ills of migration and refuge. In this way, they guarantee the continuity of the prophetic intuition of the founder, Saint John Baptist Scalabrini who, after realizing it as a social-pastoral project, entrusted its first steps to the generous determination of the co-founders: the venerable Father Joseph Marchetti and the Blessed Assunta Marchetti. Currently, the congregation is present in 27 countries, with approximately 600 Sisters.
Be you also a Scalabrinian Sister. Learn more about the mission the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo, Scalabrinians, carry out in the United States and in 26 other countries. Contact us. Come and witness the love of Christ the Pilgrim with those who are on the move and most need your love, dedication and solidarity. You are very welcome among us! Christ is counting on you, and migrants and refugees, too!
Sr. Analita Candaten