Thy Kingdom Come!
Rome, 8 December 2020
Solemnity of the Immaculate
The anniversary of the foundation of our Institute finds us all gathered in remembrance, prayer and the desire to look to Mary Immaculate, Queen of the Apostles, the first missionary, the model we are inspired by.
We got ready for her feast with nine days of prayer, invoking her as guardian of the missionary fraternity. The culmination of this itinerary is today’s celebration of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
I would like that, in this time of purification that we are given to live, we could make the ancient Marian invocation of the Sub tuum praesídium confúgimus reach Mary’s heart from every corner of the earth. This supplication is the first Marian prayer in history, dear to the tradition of the Church and of our Institute.
“Under your protection we seek refuge …”. These are the first words we pronounce when we set out on a journey, in the sky, on land or at sea. We place every sister who leaves for the mission under the protection of Mary and we entrust to her care those who are sick and those who are close to encountering the eternal embrace of the Father.
On this feast day, let us place the Church under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God, so that she, who has been preserved from sin, may preserve the Church from the force of evil that weakens her capacity for prophecy and witness.
“Holy Mother of God … do not despise the supplications of us who are in trial …”. We are in the test and the whole of humanity with us. We all carry in our hearts situations and events from our turbulent world. With one heart and one soul we implore Mary, convinced that the cry of the peoples, carried in prayer, opens us even more to “see in the other a brother to be supported and loved” (Abu Dhabi, Document on human brotherhood. Preface), a brother with whom to seek together the ways to promote justice and peace.
«Holy Mother of God … free us from every danger …». Who knows how many times we have asked to be freed from dangers; those of the countries where we are, the calamities, the wars, or simply from the dangers in our apostolic journeys… Today once again and together, we implore to be freed from the disease of the virus, we implore help for the doctors, nurses, volunteers who continue to be at the forefront and put their lives at risk to save more lives.
Holy Mary, guardian of missionary fraternity, make to grow in each of us and in the humanity, the sense of belonging to one big family. Help us to build evangelical relationships, so that with a fraternal and solidary spirit we come to serve the many poverties and situations of misery, convinced that “the existence of each of us is linked to that of others: life is not a time that passes, but a time of encounter” (Francis, 27.04.2017).
On this solemn day, I sincerely wish each of you to feel protected by Mary’s mantle, filled with maternal love.
Sr. Antonella Tovaglieri