VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II summarized the life and message of Luigi Orione on the day he canonized him, with a phrase from the saint’s writings: “Only charity will save the world.”
“Physical and moral sufferings, fatigue, difficulties, incomprehension and obstacles of all kinds characterized his apostolic ministry,” the Pope said today in St. Peter’s Square.
He cited another of the saint’s famous phrases: “Christ, the Church, souls are either loved and served on the cross and crucified or they are not loved and served totally.”
Luigi Orione (1872-1940), an Italian priest, founded the Little Work of Divine Providence and the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, becoming one of the most outstanding figures of charity of the first half of the 20th century.
A disciple of St. John Bosco, whom he knew personally, he dedicated himself to the education of poor children.
From among the youths who surrounded him arose the nucleus of his congregation. Another of his congregations, the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, came into being in 1915. Today the men religious number 1,032 and the women religious 990.
Among the most characteristic of the new saint’s works were the “Little Cottolengos,” for the abandoned and those who suffer. They arose on the outskirts of large cities as “new pulpits” from which to talk about Christ and the Church, “beacons of faith and humanity,” as the saint said.
“The heart of this strategist of charity was unbounded because it was open to the love of Christ,” the Pope said during the canonization homily. “Passion for Christ was the soul of his courageous life, the inner force of an altruism without reservations, the ever fresh source of an indestructible hope.”