Working Tirelessly For the “Mission of the The Immaculate”
Evangelization Through the Immaculate
From its modest beginnings with those two grains of wheat, (i.e. the Founders of the Franciscans of the Immaculate) the growth of the Casa Mariana has been so great as to amaze everyone who has heard about it. Besides the numerous vocations (which are in the hundreds at present) the little “Marian House” has flourished with apostolic works which would be unthinkable if one were to follow the criterion of human logic and possibility.
The care of shrines, the help given to parish priests near and far, the publication of Catholic literature to be widely diffused in Italy and other countries, the radio apostolate, the television apostolate – this was, and still is, the activity of the various communities spread worldwide, working tirelessly to further the “Mission of the Immaculate,” which is the work of evangelization “through the Immaculate” reaching millions of people who are in need of the Word of life.
It should be noted that the missionary zeal of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, particularly in regard to the mass media, is a legacy of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, who longed to “wrap the globe in Marian publications.”
It might be surprising to discover that in a small Italian mountain-top town (Frigento, Avellino) there’s a Marian press that produces and distributes hundreds of thousands of books and booklets, pamphlets and magazines, not only throughout Italy but also abroad. The sisters are the editorial staff of a weekly magazine called “Il Settimanale di Padre Pio” (The Weekly Magazine of Padre Pio). Besides this, they prepare other publications of the Marian Press in Italy, including, among others, the “Annales Francescani,” an annual publication on Franciscan Study (History, Theology and spirituality); and “Immaculata Mediatrix,” a tri-monthly international review on Marian Theology. There are also other small magazines: “In Communion”, which is only for our Family of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, and another magazine only for the members of the MIM. The sisters produce a seasonal missalette throughout Italy, called “La Mia Messa” (My Mass), printing about 35,000 copies. This missalette is very much appreciated and requested because it is the most complete: it contains the readings of the Mass for every day, a maxim from the saints and a little resolution for every day, as well as a short biography of the saint of the day. It is the sisters who edit all the printing material for our publications. Books published by the publishing house have been translated in various parts of the world into English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Filipino, Romanian, Korean, Polish, and still other languages, all with efficiency and professionalism, to the praise and glory of God and for the salvation of souls.
The sisters in Italy also manage and direct the radio station (short waves and on satellite) dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel (Teleradio Buon Consiglio).
There are also radio stations in the Philippines.
Note: All radio stations depend completely on the donations of benefactors, which will determine the speediness of when these much needed Marian radio stations can be officially up and running.
“Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 5:40).
Besides the apostolate of the mass media, there is also the apostolate of charity for those most in need.
Wherever the Franciscans of the Immaculate are located, they always give precedence to the poor and needy. In Brazil, for example, we opened the first House of Charity of “Padre Pio of Pietrelcina” for the meniños da rua (the children of the streets). For now the sisters take care of about 30 girls between 5 to 13 years old. Many times they come from the street or from broken families, or from families that cannot offer a better future, physically, spiritually and morally.
Another example would be the second House of Charity of “Padre Pio of Pietrelcina” was recently inaugurated in Nigeria (Africa). Currently there are about 30 girls and it has the capacity to house about 80 girls. Most of them are the children of lepers, and other poor girls. The sisters also take care of the lepers: giving them meals, bringing them to the hospital* in the more serious and urgent cases, catechizing, teaching them domestic skills etc. In particular, they go once a week for 3 hours to teach catechism
These are just a few examples of the work the sisters do with the poor. As Franciscans who take a very strict vow of poverty, following our Seraphic Father in his passionate love for the poor and needy because in them, in particular, he saw Jesus Christ, the Poor and Crucified One, we cannot but help to give the precedence to them in all of our missions worldwide.
* The Franciscans of the Immaculate are planning for the future to also have a hospital supplied with a medical staff in Nigeria. Please join us in our prayers that this dream may be fulfilled!
The Marian Vow Knows No Limits
Due to the nature of the Marian Vow with its unlimited consecration to the Immaculate Mediatrix, Advocate and Coredemptrix as Her absolute and unconditional thing and property, the work of the Franciscans of the Immaculate truly varies. Thus the apostolate they carry out depends upon the place where they are called to work and the needs presented.
The Sacred Liturgy
Wherever the Franciscans of the Immaculate are located, they take special care to preserve and maintain the proper decorum of the Sacred Liturgy. They often sing for the Holy Mass and Eucharistic Holy Hours in parishes and shrines worldwide, also serving as sacristans.
The Tridentine Mass and Liturgy
Since the Holy Father Benedict XVI published his Motu Proprio in 2007, where he not only encourages religious in a particular manner to participate in the Holy Mass according to the Tridentine Rite where possible, but also exhorts religious Orders to take up, once again, the Liturgy of the Hours, as well, the Founders of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate did not hesitate to encourage both the friars and the sisters to immediately put the Holy Father’s exhortations into practice. The sisters eagerly began to learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the Tridentine Rite and since 2007, almost all of the Houses of the Immaculate worldwide have successfully been able to integrate the Sacred Liturgy into their daily lives. Wherever it is possible, the Tridentine Mass is celebrated every day.
The sisters teach catechism either to the MIM or to the children of the MIM, depending on which country they are in. For example, in some parts of Italy it is the sisters that teach and guide the Third Order meetings, while in other parts it is the friars who are teaching and guiding them. In the U.S.A., the sisters teach the children of the MIM. They also teach catechism in parishes, as well.
Still more apostolates
As was stated above, the limitlessness of the Marian Vow causes the sisters’ work to vary greatly, depending on the need of the place where they are. Some of these apostolates include: bookstores; maintaining or assisting at retreat houses; giving vocation talks and retreats (year round); proofreading and/or translating books and articles for international, bi-lingual magazines bimonthly magazine dedicated to Mary Immaculate and the missions and which is written, edited and produced by the Franciscans of the Immaculate in collaboration with other orthodox Catholic writers, just to name a few; computer designing for the magazines, books, etc.; working in the radio; singing in Marian shrines and others… There is such a variety that a Sister’s duties can vary from working for the Terra Santa College in the Holy Land (Jerusalem), caring for the children at the orphanage “House of Charity of Padre Pio” (in Brazil) to peeling potatoes in the kitchen! It matters not what work is assigned to the Sister as all contribute, through holy obedience, to the Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix of all Graces: a universal mission of salvation for all souls!
Sister Maria Cristiana
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate
House of the Immaculate
4 Brownhill Road, Catford
London SE6 2EJ
tel: +44 (20) 8697 0601
tel – bookstore: +44 (20) 3441 8240