Erection of the new Province of San Vincenzo Italia

A new page in history opens:  the erection of a new Province of the Daughters of Charity in Italy. On November 29, 2021, the Province of San Vincenzo Italia was erected. This event, which is the union of the Provinces of Sardinia and San Vincenzo Italia, was celebrated at Casa Maria Immacolata in Rome. It happily coincided with the anniversary of the foundation of the Little Company (November 29, 1633) in Paris which, around Saint Louise de Marillac, wrote pages of Charity totally unprecedented in the Church. In the presence of the Superiors General, the Visitatrixes of the two former Provinces, the Provincial Directors and a good number of Daughters of Charity from all over Italy, we accompanied the historical moment with psalms and spiritual songs.

The prayerful, fraternal, and joyful participation of all those gathered for the birth of the new Province of San Vincenzo Italia was truly a unique moment born out of a passionate desire to respond to the direction set out by the Company in accordance with the directives of the Church regarding Religious Institutes, particularly communities of Apostolic Life like us. This direction is aimed at a better and more concerted effort to serve persons who are poor as well as a greater openness as we collaborate with the laity and the diocesan and national ecclesial organizations.  The process of reconfiguration of the five Provinces in Italy which began in 2013 is therefore accomplished after long and intense dialogues and consultations and numerous meetings between the respective Provincial Councils in the search for God’s will. The General Assembly itself which was held in Paris from 29 October to 21 November 2021 concluded with a commitment to open up new paths of fraternity, communion and mission; thus, the unification of the Provinces can be said to be the first step towards placing fraternity for Mission at the very heart.

The Visitatrix of the new Province: Sister Maria Rosaria Matranga

Referring to the General Assembly, Sister Françoise Petit, Superioress General, shared: “we have spoken a lot about the dimension of fraternity among the Sisters, among Communities and Provinces. During the exchanges on this topic in the General Assembly, it was well-expressed that this fraternity is based on our faith; we are not on a purely human level even if it is partly so, we are all children of the same Father. It is a fraternity of communion and this is what we need to build! …the birth of a new Province may be an opportunity to resume exchanges on this theme and at the same time to make concrete commitments to achieve communion in fact and in spirit among you and between the two Provinces that are joining together. What is expected of us? As far as Mission is concerned, the indispensable revision of works was underlined…the only possible way to be always faithful to our Charism….

We feel the urgency to put together what we are and have: mind, heart, energies, resources and responses in order to promote experiences together, to continue to be credible witnesses of God’s tenderness towards those who are poor, to carry out works/projects that aim to restore to poor persons the dignity that is due to all, and to strengthen the sense of belonging to the Company by enhancing collaboration with members of the Vincentian family. 

The day ended with lunch. Ephata! is already underway, it is up to us to engage in dialogue, to see with new vision, to open up, to cross the threshold, to meet… determined once again to walk together as Sisters whom God has called and assembled together (C 11a). 

The Superior General, Father Tomaž Mavrič in his homily said: «The unification of the Province of San Vincenzo Italia is a challenge, an opportunity; the unification, at first partial and now total, is already history… it will have a history, today is the date of its birth. We believe that God’s Providence has guided us to this day – as St Vincent de Paul would say – step by step, slowly… until today, the day when the sea that separates the main land from the island of Sardinia parted and a dry path has been opened so that we can walk together.  We will probably be assailed by regrets for the onions we used to enjoy… we will go through days of desert… there is also a Jordan for us to cross, God has not changed His style; God always walks with us, that is why we can take the new road and by taking it we give witness… that God in Christ has become close…»

Sister M. Rita Columbano, DC

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