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|Discovering a treasure|
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“There is a growing interest on the part of the Pious Disciples and others”, wrote the Postulator, Fr. Antonio da Silva, “for a better knowledge of the Servant of God, Mother Scholastica Rivata, and an increase in the requests for materials regarding her teachings. Mother Scholastica never wrote a book, but she produced a vast amount of correspondence. Her letters were handwritten or personally typed. They did not have an instructional purpose, but sought to resolve the practical questions of the moment. It is precisely for this reason that they are filled with references to daily life and interspersed with reflections and precious teachings. From here rises and grows the desire to become more acquainted with the writings of Mother Scholastica…”
With this heartfelt desire, two Pious Disciples who frequented the program on the Charism of the Pauline Family 2007-2008 prepared their final thesis by studying some of the letters of Mother Scholastica.
Sr Analice Lúcia Balestrin, Epistolario di Madre Scolastica Rivata. Lettere di Madre M. Scolastica Rivata a Sr. M. Ignazia Biello (1932 —1936), Formation Course on the Charism of the Pauline Family 2003-2004.
Sr Maria Aparecida Batista: UNA DONNA DEL VANGELO MADRE SCOLASTICA RIVATA. Dal libro “Le Donne del Vangelo” alle lettere a Madre Lucia Ricci 1945 - 1948. Formation Course on the Charism of the Pauline Family 2007-2008.
Sr M. Alejandra Mencía: Madre Scolastica, modello di vita. Formation Course on the Charism of the Pauline Family 2007-2008.
Another study of the sources available was done this year by Sr. M. Pace Kang in her paper: “Madre M. Scolastica Rivata, Modello di formazione”. This is a precious work for the Korean province since it offers the Korean translation of the letters to Sr. M. Ignazia Biello. Formation Course on the Charism of the Pauline Family 2007-2008.
Also Sr. M. Anna R. Tinampay, who prepared the paper on “Processo di Cristificazione nel Donec Formetur e nella Regola di Vita PDDM”, presented in her conclusion “Mother M. Scholastica, model of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master”. Formation Course on the Charism of the Pauline Family 2008-2009.
Sr. Maria Aparecida, a Brazilian Pious Disciple, who worked on a theme precious to her: “Mother Scholastica and the Women of the Gospel”, based her research on the letters of Mother Scholastica to Mother Lucia Ricci. She limited her study to the 22 letters written between 1945-1948, a critical period for the Servant of God and for the Congregation of the Pious Disciples. The letters demonstrate a relationship of “friendship and complicity” between these two great women who wrote pages that are fundamental to the history of our Congregation, while following the Divine Master like the “Women of the Gospel”. At the conclusion of her work, Sr. M. Apraceda wrote:
My research on the letters to Mother Lucia Ricci has convinced me that the Servant of God, Mother Scholastica Rivata, truly learned a number of things from the “Women of the Gospel” who, with Mary, followed Jesus: the spirit of prayer, audacity, strength, courage, humility, dedication, sacrifice and especially love, in the conviction that “only Love is everything”.
The testimony presented in the letters demonstrate that, from the beginning, her life and her discipleship were founded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was meditated upon especially in the perspective of the call of women.The letters also show that, within the Pauline Family, the evangelical vocation placed Scholastica in the footsteps of St. Paul and under the guidance of Mary, Queen of Apostles, in a journey of daily configuration to “Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
As Mary said “Yes” to God’s plan in her youth: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done unto me according to your word” (Lk 2:38), so Orsola Rivata responded to his call: “Lord, you alone are enough”. From that moment she offered herself fully and completely to God and her life was directed on a single path: to fulfill always and in everything the will of God, believing in the project of the Founder, in the life of the Congregation of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master.
As Paul and Barnabas were chosen by the Lord for a special mission (Acts 13:2), so Orsola Rivata and Metilda Gerlotto were chosen by Fr. Alberione to begin the Institute of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. To the question: “what will we do?”; they received the response which continued to echo in their hearts: “observe Silence, Silence, Silence”; that silence of listening and of meditation, of prayer and contemplation, of offering and service, following the example of Mary, Mother of Jesus, who “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).
As Paul was imprisoned, so Mother Scholastica was removed from her office as responsible for the group of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master in 1946 and segregated at Villa San Giuseppe (Via Portuense 746), because, convinced that God wanted the Congregation, she sought a way to obtain juridical approval. Like Paul, she struggled: “[…] if it would be possible, try to free me from this prison in which I find myself” (MSltLR05). “I do not want to complain about what the Lord has disposed for me in his infinite goodness […]. I strive to be content, although exile is always exile” (MSltLR013).
Again like Paul, she offered her life as a libation and desired nothing more than to fulfill the apostolic work entrusted to her for the benefit of the Church of God: “I desire nothing more than to do what the Lord wills, that he may respond to the prayers and the sacrifices of many souls who moan and weep and suffer to obtain the grace of being recognized even by the Church in their vocation” (MSltLR004).
It is possible that the figure of St. Paul, apostle and missionary to the nations, inspired Mother Scholastica also when she was sent, in 1936, to Egypt as the first missionary of the Pauline Family on African soil, then in France, and ultimately in Argentina.
She looked to the women who, like Mary and with Mary, followed Jesus and played an active role in the mission of Jesus; the courageous women who, unlike the twelve apostles, did not abandon Jesus in the hour of his passion (cf Mt 27: 56.61; Mk 15:40), but remained with Mary at the foot of the cross; the first woman to testify and proclaim the Risen One (cf Jn 20: 1.11-18), the apostle of the apostles.
Like these women, Orsola Rivata mirrored herself in Mary, the Disciple Mother, to become the first Mother of the Pious Disciples.
At the conclusion of this brief and limited research, I give thanks to the Divine Master who gave me the grace to rediscover Mother Scholastica. I am sure that she will guide us on the way to reach the original charism of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. She knew how to abandon herself to God’s fidelity. Her entire existence was one of “losing herself” in love, in the unconditional adhesion to God’s plan in her life.
|One step forward and a demanding examination for Mother Scholastica|
The process for the Cause has reached the moment in which the Positio super vitutibus (deposition on the virtues) of the Servant of God Mother Scholastica Rivata is consigned to the Theologians for examination. The volume of the Positio will be sent to nine Theological Consultants of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. Each one of them will express his own votum (evaluation). After the scheduled study time and the written formulation of the votum, which requires several months, the “Theological Congress” will be held. The report of the Theological Congress, edited by the General Promoter of the Faith, will then be consigned for scrutiny by the Session of Cardinals and Bishops who are members of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. The Cardinal Prefect will then relay the conclusions to the Supreme Pontiff for the final decision and the publication of the decree on the “heroic virtues”. At this point, if the outcome is positive, the Servant of God is called Venerable.