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THE MASTER AND HIS SISTER DISCIPLES:
A LIFE RELATIONSHIP

Acts of the International Seminar
on "Jesus, the Master"
(Ariccia, October 14-24, 1996)

by M. Regina Cesarato pddm

 

II. IN "THE GREAT SILENCE" (1929-1947)

1. The common heritage

In the dual request of Fr. Alberione in 1926 to the Sacred Congregation of Religious for the canonical erection of the masculine and feminine branches, made for the first time in an official document, the name Pious Disciples was introduced "for the perpetual adoration (day and night) of the Divine Master in the Holy Tabernacle for the press." (45) The Decree of 13 March 1929, however, was asking to unify the two groups of women in just one Institute, that of the Daughters of St. Paul. And this was approved.(46)

The Pious Disciples lost their name and found themselves juridically included in the approval of the Institute and of the Constitutions of the Daughters of St. Paul and until 1947 they would make the religious profession "according to the Constitutions of the Daughters of St. Paul," although they continued in practice to journey according to their specific vocation.(47)

During the 1930s, with the missionary expansion outside of Italy, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master in general were associated with the members of the Society of St. Paul and of the Daughters of St. Paul and while the "devotion" to the Divine Master was maturing either on the level of spiritual and apostolic pedagogy or in its external expressions (iconography, church of the Divine Master in Alba, etc.), the Pious Disciples lived the season of a great silence while drawing nonetheless, from the common patrimony of the House,(48) from the presence and the ministry of the Founder and of Blessed Timoteo Giaccardo and of the other Pauline priests.

For now, texts and interventions of the Founder regarding the topic we are dealing with and exclusively addressed to the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master are not known. (return to summary)

2. The mediation of Maestro Giaccardo

The year 1936 put an end to the Pauline infancy with the final transfer of Fr. Alberione and of the Prima Maestra Tecla Merlo to Rome.

The Primo Maestro entrusted the care of the various communities and particularly of the formation of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master to Fr. Timoteo Giaccardo who returned to Alba.(49)

Fr. Giaccardo’s intervention on formation was especially important from 1939 to 1946 when the Casa Divina Provvidenza of Alba became the house of Novitiate for the Pious Disciples,(50) when the crafts and arts dimension of the liturgical apostolate began and when internal courses of higher studies for some professed sisters were given.

Particularly important are the notebooks of meditations and classes of liturgy given to the Novices and the writings of the Blessed that would accompany the trial by fire for the Pious Disciples, that culminated with the decree of 24 August 1946.

In the retreat conducted by Fr. Timoteo Giaccardo in October 1944, he dealt, with great spiritual depth on the theme of the devotion to the Divine Master "who is honored in the house while explaining its why and showing the content in its height, breadth, length and depth and of its integrality as a formation itinerary: ‘It is the devotion to Jesus personally living in the Church and who has His residence, teaching chair, abode in the Eucharist’.(51)

During the years of silent discipleship (1929-1947), the Pious Disciples were trained to live that spousal dimension with the Divine Master that the Founder, quoting biblical texts like the Canticle of canticles would often recall in his preaching to them. It was a call to enter into ever greater intimacy with the Divine Master.(52)

On 24 November 1946, during the period of trial, the Primo Maestro himself would confirm the Pious Disciples in this Paschal itinerary when he wrote: "The ways of the Lord are inscrutable: but full of wisdom and love. It is also a path wherein we find ourselves; in view of the loftiest ends of the Divine Master. This condition is very well suited for the achievement of the same ends of the Pious Disciples."

While the place of humiliation to the point of annihilation was reserved by the Divine Master for Mother M. Scolastica Rivata, person responsible for the Pious Disciples, the whole group was assimilated in the Easter of the Lord and Master.

On Good Friday, 19 April 1946, Fr. Timoteo Giaccardo wrote to the Pious Disciples: "The Master does not look at you only from the outside, but lives with you your passion of this great Friday: but even more so it is the Divine Master who unites his passion with you to the mystery of his passion. The painful announcement arrived and received yesterday, a great day for you and in these days of the Paschal mystery I consider a testimony, to which the Paschal mystery gives meaning to life. Welcome it this way: it is the most loving Father who stirs and resuscitates in Christ Divine Master. Hence: Oboediens usque ad mortem autem crucis, et Deus exaltabit" (Phil 2:8-9). Ego vivo, et vos vivetis! Read today Is 53 - Hos 6. I bless you with paternal affection." (53)

The community of the Pious Disciples and their first Mother (54) live the highest moment of their discipleship, in the assimilation to the Eucharistic Divine Master.

On May 7, 1946 Mother Scolastica, from her "obligatory isolation," thus wrote, among other things, to the Rev.mo Sig. Maestro Giaccardo: "In this trial, the Lord has as also heard my prayer that many, many times I made to him: Jesus hold me in silence, hold me in hiddenness, hold me in humility, in simplicity, in littleness... Does it not seem to you that He may have heard my aspiration? As for the Pious Disciples, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Divine Master wants them in his Church like the many other Religious Families and for this I pray and offer my poor sorrows and sufferings... I thank the Lord so much that with this trial I can better immolate myself in the guise of victim and of host and for this I live entirely abandoned in Jesus my sweet Savior and Crucified Spouse even as I give him full freedom to do what He wants of me. Please thank Jesus also for me, of the good he has wanted for me..."

The relationship with the Divine Master is, indeed, a fact of life! (return to summary)

Continued: Fr. Alberione’s preaching to the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (1946-1971)

return to summary

 

           Jesus Master yesterday, today and for ever

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