St. Benedict Menni
Hospitality with the heart of God
April24 is not only a liturgical Feast for the great Family of St. John of God.Today, the Church is offering the world a Saint who is familiar to us becausehe is "one of our own", one of our Brothers who offered his life as agift to the poor, the sick and the marginalised. Brother Benedict Menni, whoselife was devoted totally to serving the Kingdom of God, reached the peak ofholiness, joining the ranks of the last century’s most "famous"saints of charity. Renowned for his charity and saintliness, he was given aplace among the spires of Milan Cathedral.
St.Benedict was born in Milan as Angelo Ercole on March 11, 1841. He entered the HospitallerOrder in 1860 after receiving a solid human and spiritual formation, when,while still a young man, he was sent by his superiors to refound the Order inSpain. During his mission in Spain, he not only fulfilled the mandate he hadbeen given, but the Holy Spirit inspired him to found a Religious Institute forwomen – the Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - dedicated tothe care of sick women.In 1911 the Holy See appointed him Prior General of theOrder. He died in Dinan, France, on 14April 1914.
St.Benedict Menni’s work lives on today, because his prophetic and charismaticpresence still lives on powerfully and actively in the two Religious familiesof which he was Superior General, and Founder, respectively.
Saintsare never outdated. Their lives, their decisions and their thinking always keepabreast of the times, for they are the life and the mind of the Holy Spirit:God's gift to all men and women in the world.
Despitethe drudgery, sufferings and misunderstandings he had to endure during his lifetime,St. Benedict Menni never gave way to discouragement. His determined character,and his staunch and unshakeable faith led him, obedient to the will of the HolySpirit, to bring into existence new places of care and to develop new careprojects, and to redesign new care roles. Certain insights can only spring froma heart in love with God and our neighbour.
St.Benedict Menni reminds us that everything begins from the Centre: from theHeart of Jesus. For this very reason he named his Congregation the SistersHospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To the Sisters he recommendedthis simple ejaculatory prayer: "Jesus I distrust myself; in your HeartI trust and abandon myself". A spirituality of the Sacred Heart that wasnot only devotional, but the source of inspiration to institute centres inwhich the sick and the vulnerable could experience "true love" - divine, and not only human love. His fame of livingholiness among us still attracts us as it did then, and inspires thisenthusiasm to continue his work with energy and passion, to pass on the truegift of hospitality -- a gift that is always creative and proactive, and ableto generate new life in the Spirit for the benefit of the sick, poor andmarginalised in our own age.
BrotherBenedict Menni was beatified by St. John Paul II on June 23, 1985, and canonisedby the same Pope on November 21, 1999.
Fromthe General Postulation
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