VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2003 (Zenit.org).- On the occasion of the centenary of the diocesan recognition of the Little Work of Divine Providence, John Paul II called for “new and courageous interventions in the frontiers of charity.”
This religious congregation was founded by Father Luigi Orione (1872-1940), who was beatified in 1980.
Father Orione founded the Orione Family, which is made up of laity, religious and priests active in 30 countries, who direct homes for the handicapped, homes and day-care centers for children and young people who are needy or live on the streets, schools and educational centers, parishes, chapels and shrines, missionary works, youth centers and movements.
The Sons of Divine Providence now number 1,023. Among these, there are three bishops, 728 priests, 82 brothers and eight hermits. The women religious founded by Blessed Orione, the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, number 990.
In a message published today by the Holy See, John Paul II invited the religious to live a “creative fidelity in a changing world,” so that this centenary will serve to “project new and courageous interventions at the very frontiers of charity.”
“Only by remaining well rooted in divine life and maintaining unaltered the spirit of the beginning, will you be able to respond in a prophetic way to the needs of the present age,” the Holy Father stressed.
In order to do so, “the first commitment” is to “tend toward holiness,” he said, as it would be a contradiction “to be content with a mediocre life, lived according to a minimalist ethic and a superficial religiosity.”