IN THE STREETS OF BIG CITIES, AMONG STEPPES AND SANDS OF THE DESERT
S. KRYTYNA JACIÓW
In the Year of Faith the Publishing House Missio-Polonia a book of blessed Fr. Józef Allamano entitled: ‘Be such people. Missionary spirituality and pedagogy’. The publication lets us get to know the ‘fundaments’ established by blessed Fr. Józef Allmano from the Congregations of Missionaries of Our Lady of Consolation (Consolata). Missionaries of Consolation have been present in Poland since the year 2008 and are known as people who joyfully and fervently serve to missionary animation and cooperation - also within Papal Missionary Works.
‘Be such people’ – is not only the title of the book but an ideal of Christian life experienced in the spirit of deep faith and which is open to the missionary world. This ideal appeared in the heart of r. Józef in front of the image of Our Lady of Consolation in the missionary sanctuary in Turin. ‘Reading this book – writes in the introduction mother Simona Brambilla, the general superior of the Convent of Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation – is like crossing the threshold of a holy place. What attracts is simplicity and freshness of the language, and also deepness and emotionality of the content. The one who says is the father. He speaks from heart to heart. Wisely, deeply, truly, directly. He speaks about God, about the human being, about life which is so valuable that it is worth living till the end, not escaping but going forward, with passion and joy. His message is coherent, full of gentleness and strength so characteristic for Józef Allamano. Dear reader, you will find here something which is like water springing from a rock, freshness of faith, humility and joy of our charisma of consolation!’.
Fr. Józef Allamano (1851-1926), a fervent Turin priest received the missionary charisma at the feet of Our Lady of Consolation – in order to bring consolation to people who do not know Christ the Redeemer yet. As a rector of the sanctuary Consolata – Mother the Comforter – in 1901 he founded a Congregation of Missionaries and in 1910 a Congregation of Missionary Sisters. Both convent families received a beautiful title of ‘Our Lady of Consolation’, as the Holiest Mary the Virgin worshipped under this title was ‘Lady of life’ for Fr. Józef: he entrusted Her his whole life, his strength, his priesthood, while serving Her tirelessly in this centre of Mary’s cult and spreading Her name all over the world through his missionaries.
‘They will proclaim my glory among nations’ (Is.66.19) – this motto given by Fr. Józef to missionaries of Mother the Comforter, which expresses their place in the Church: mission ‘ad gentes’ among non-Christians, on areas inhabited by the poorest groups of people and where Christ is not known yet and where it is possible to start a dialogue with great religions of the world. This mission is fulfilled through the spirit passed by the Founder. This spirituality has the following features: love to Eucharistic Christ – the centre around whom everything is going on and to whom everything is going; entrusting oneself to Holiest Mary the Virgin and Comforter as the most tender Mother who loves and understands everything; faithfulness to the entrusted mission as a cooperation in the work of redemption. The task of missionaries is proclaiming the Good News about redemption through a prayer, ministry of love and mercifulness, a word and a deed as well as the whole life attitude. This mission is addressed to every person met in this particular situation of life: in the Amazon jungle and in the streets of big metropolis, housing estates and villages, among steppes and on the desert, on sea coasts and on the furthest islands, during treks on missionary trails, at schools and ambulatories, in various kinds of promotion centres, in appearing parishes or missionary chapels, so everywhere where the man is longing for God and His consolation.
‘There are many hearts which are waiting for the Gospel, there are many hearts which are still waiting!’ – this statement is still valid, especially in our times when every day we see hurt humankind longing for real consolation and real love.
The actuality of this mission was confirmed by pope Francis in the homily for consecrated people when on 7 July 2013 he said: ‘It is important for our mission to be fruitful: experience God’s consolation and pass it to others! I often met consecrated people who are afraid of God’s consolation and …..they are poor because they torment themselves as they are afraid of God’s tenderness. Do not be afraid, Lord is Lord of consolation. Lord is Father and says that he will treat us like mother treats her child, with tenderness. Do not be afraid of being comforted by Lord. The encouragement of Isaiah must sound in our hearts: ‘Please, comfort my people!’ (40.1) and this must become a mission. We must find Lord who comforts us and go to comfort God’s people. This is a mission. Today people need us to give a testimony of mercifulness, Lord’s tenderness which warms the heart, awakens hope and attract to the goodness, joy of bringing God’s consolation’.
‘Such people I want to see’ – says blessed Fr. Józef Allamano even today.
The book ‘Be such people’ can be ordered from Missionaries of Our Lady of Consolation, writing to the e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org