SISTERS OF CHARITY OF THE SAINTS BARTOLOMEA CAPITANIO AND VINCENZA GEROSA (SCCG)
“It will be very pleasing to the Lord that the Institute gives itself to bring solace and relief to the sick, to bring comfort and spiritual and temporal help, with the sincere charity with which persons consecrate themselves to this kind of life, so similar to that of our amiable Redeemer.
The original fields of interest at the time of foundation were:
– the religious and scholastic education of boys and girls
– the assistance of orphans, the sick and the marginalized whom Divine Providence could place in the CVway of the Institut OUR FOUNDRESSES
Bartolomea Capitanio was born on January 13,1807 in Lovere in the province of Bergamo, Italy. At the age of 7, deeply moved by a sermon on sin, Bartolomea resolved with a firmness beyond her age: “I wish to love Jesus and become a Saint”. These words expressed the programme of a life which was to reach her goal of sanctity. While still a young girl, she responded to God’s imitation, and set herself a courageous plan of personal holiness.
She was faced with the stark realities of a war-torn society or orphaned children, girls in moral danger, the sick and
infirm who were neglected. She sensed within her the irritable called to assist those in need.
Caterina Gerosa, the co-foundress had the same passion for charity in her heart. In Lovere, she was known as the “Lady of Charity”. Caterina came from a well-to-do and pious family. She was in her forties when she came into close contact with Bartolomea together they planned the foundation of the Institute.
On the 21st of November 1832, Bartolomea Capitanio and Caterina Gerosa consecrated themselves wholly to God, thus was born the Institute of the Sisters of Charity.
Early eight months after the foundation of the Institute, Bartolomea died on July 20, 1833. Caterina Gerosa who accepted the project of the
foundation of the Institute in faith, continued to guide it in its difficult initial years.
On November 21, 1835, at the first Vestition ceremony of the novices, Caterina Gerosa chose for herself the name of Sr. Vincenza.
Both Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa were canonized by Pope Pious XII on May 18, 1950.
“I will visit the sick as often as possible. I will help them with words and deeds, rendering them the most mean and disgusting.”
“I will give up whatever is superfluous, either in food or in dress and keep for myself only what is strictly necessary in order to be able to help the poor better.”
“The sick and dying will be the delight of my heart. I shall help them in word and deed and not hesitate to perform the meanest service for them”.
Bartolomea’s commitment to the most needy of every kind and her inspired life totally consumed for the good of the neighbour urges us even today to give our lives in the service of our brethren.One of the most striking features of Christ’s ministry on earth is His identification with people in all forms of human distress.
Bartolomea’s educational preoccupation was to put children in touch with God and make them grow as persons for others. Bartolomea’s education gives a moral and spiritual formation offering opportunities for a faith response to God through the values taught in catechism classes.
Our educational guidelines are rooted in the Christian mystery of Redemption derived from a spiritual experience of St Bartolomea from her faith and her choice of consecrating herself to the service of charity.
Bartolomea considered education as an apostolate which shows the seed of truth in the minds of youth, implants virtue in their hearts, extends the
of Christ and His Church and prepares persons for their eternal destiny.
Every educational gesture of Bartolomea had its root in the vital rapport with Jesus the Redeemer. His style was marked by attention to the person, friendship and preference for the weakest.
According to the mind of Bartolomea Capitanio, the main aim of the Institute is education of poor young girls without parents, keeping them even by providing for the full support until they grow up and learn some work by which to earn an honest living.
BARTOLOMEA’S VISION OF THE INSTITUTE SHE FOUNDED
A Religious family founded on the principles and examples of Jesus the Redeemer in His life of contemplative prayer and active charity.
We are called to follow Christ our Redeemer, choosing His way of life-chaste, poor and obedient and taking Him as our Model, norm, protector and guide, in our apostolic action, expressing God’s love for humankind through works of mercy.
Today the Institute reconfirms the “apostolic choices” of the early years of its existence. The attention and charity of the sisters should accordingly be directed.
– to the youth of every condition, preferring among them the poorest, the abandoned and the disorientated;
– to the sick, the aged and those rejected by society
– to those who have still no knowledge of the Gospel.
MARIA BAMBINA enter the life of THE INSTITUTE
Through the providential plan of God, Maria Bambina ( Infant Mary ) entered the Institute and became part of its history soon after its foundation and has always accompanied us on our way as a constant reminder of a specific element of the charism of foundation: “Trustful and humble abandonment to the initiative of the Father.”
A wax image of the Infant Mary, which was discoloured with time, was given into the custody of the Sisters of charity. On 9th September 1884, Maria Bambina miraculously healed Giulia Macario who was seriously ill and at the same time the faded face of the statue began to change. From that day onwards the devotion to Maria Bambina spread and miracles multiplied, and the Sisters of Charity came to be known more popularly as Sisters of Maria Bambina.
TO BURMA (MYANMAR)
On the 14th of March 1914, Fr Paolo Marnna, Superior of the PIME Father requested Mother Angela Ghezzi, Superior gereral of the Sisters of Charity, to give him a group of sisters to open a house in Burma. Accordingly, on the 21st of November 1915, four missionary sisters left Milan for Roma. After a long and arduous journey they reached Kengtung ( Kyainge Tong ), their destination on the 26th of February 1916. The pioneer Sisters were Sr Giuseppina Maspoli, Sr Andreina Cristofoli, Sr Vincenza Consoni and Sr Assumpta Colombo.
The Sisters were entrusted with the work of looking after orphan girls, running a school for day students, training girls in needle-work and embroidery, running a dispensary and catering to the poor sick.
On the 10th June 1923, the leper asylum of St Joseph, with three lepers was opened, with more Sisters from Italy arriving, new communities were opened in Mong Ping, Monglin, Mongyaung, and Loimwe.
In 1932, the PIME Fathers opened a new mission center in Loikaw capital of Kayah State, from which they can reach about 300 surrounding villages.
On May 4, 1935, the Superior General Mother Antonietta Sterni made a formal application to the Holy See for the erection of the Burma province. Permission was granted on May 4 and issued from Rome in a Decree dated 25th May, 1935. Sr Daridica Acqustapace was its first provincial superior.
The Sisters give their service in boarding homes, home for the handicapped and disabled, home for the aged, leper colonies, missio station.