Message to the entire Hospitaller Community
on the FEAST OF OUR FOUNDER
April 24, 2020
“With St. Benedict Menni, at the service of hospitality”
As the celebration of the FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT MENNI approaches, I send my fraternal and cordial best wishes to the whole Hospitaller Community: to the sick and their loved ones, our co-workers, volunteers, benefactors, friends, those under formation and all the sisters. I wish you a Happy Feast Day!
This year, because of the present pandemic which is affecting the four continents where we are present, the celebrations of this Feast Day will be particularly unusual, with none of the usual highly creative external events to which we have become accustomed over the years.
But, this fact can be – and this is what I am urging us to make it – a challenge to “celebrate our Feast Day within ourselves”, focusing on the very essence of our identity as “the family of St. Benedict Menni, marked by his same gesture of hospitaller service”.
Above, you can see the detail of the image of St. Benedict Menni on the mosaic in the Chapel of the Father Benedict Menni Hospitaller Centre in Valladolid (Spain). It depicts our founder by the cross of Jesus, in that gesture of service that characterises our hospitality, staying by the bedside of the suffering until the end.
I wonder very often, and especially in these days during the health crisis, how many gestures of hospitaller service, like Benedict Menni’s, we have made or witnessed in our centres, care facilities and communities. Each of us can bear in mind these gestures that are performed over and over again in our daily work of offering hospitality which “continue to make that same gesture of service present today”.
May each of us celebrate this Feast Day “within ourselves”, seeing all the men and women who live with us and who in the service are other “Benedict Mennis” in the practice of Hospitality.
With the sisters of the General Government, I wish you a Happy Feast Day! And praying that St. Benedict Menni may intercede for our hospitaller family to ensure that we can remain faithful to the “foundational spirit present in the way we welcome in and care for sick people and the most vulnerable” (XXI General Chapter, Practise Hospitality, 22).
Anabela Carneiro, Superior General