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Weekly Bulletin March 14, 2021
by Terrie Evans
On this 4th Sunday of Lent, we celebrate Laetare or Rejoice Sunday, the midpoint of this solemn time in the Liturgical season, exactly 21 days before Easter. Laetare Sunday is also known as Dominica de Rosa or Rose Sunday for the Golden Rose that Pope Francis will bestow on Catholic Sovereigns as a way to thank them for their dedication to the Catholic Church. Also on this Sunday; Notre Dame will announce the recipient of the Laetare medal.
The Friar Works, Franciscan Ministry and Mission has provided our church with a daily Reflection booklet, Lent with 20th Century Saints. The Franciscan Media wanted to introduce us to Saints who lived during the last century. One of those saints, St. Guido Maria Conforti (PAGE 22) has family members from the Conforti and Stath families living in Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio who were invited to his Canonization on October 23, 2011 at St. Peters Square by Pope Benedict XVI. St. Guido Maria Conforti; an Italian born in 1865, entered the Seminary in Parma being drawn to the life and works of St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit Missionary. Guido developed a unknown lung illness that delayed him being ordained until 1888. He felt his calling was missionary work, but because of his health, Guido was assigned to assist seminary students. He founded the Xaverian Missionary Fathers in 1895 and planned to do work in China just as Xavier had done.
The Pope felt his work was in “The China of Italy “ in Parma so Guido founded The Catholic Action to defend the rights of workers, assist prisoners of war, work with veterans, and those displaced by war. He finally made the journey to China where he visited Xaverian Missionaries in 1928, that he established before he passed in 1931 at the age of 66 years. Sadly St. Conforti was not able to establish a women’s community, the Xaverian Congregation Sisters, as he stated, “For I consider it of great importance”.
A woman with ties to Cincinnati and Parma, Italy was also inspired by St. Conforti to establish a Missionary Order, the Xaverian Missionaries of Mary in 1945 when she was 50 years old. Venerable (Judged to have lived the heroic virtues) Celestine Bottego was born in Glendale, Ohio on December 20th, 1895. At the age of 15, her Irish Mother, Mary Healy and Italian Father Giambattista Bottego moved back to Parma, Italy to care for the aging Bottego Grandparents. After her sister Maria entered the Congregation of Franciscans Missionaries of Mary, she visited Maria in India and decided at the age of 40 to devote her life to missionary work.
Within the Xaverian Congregation of sisters, her 1st first assignment was in Massachusetts (1954), Brazil ( 1957), Japan(1959), and Burundi (1961). Other missions were established in Italy, United States, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Chad, Congo and Thailand. Celestine died in 1980 at the age of 85 and on December 1, 2013 Ven. Celestine Bottego was declared a Servant of God. The Xaverian Sisters lived and worked among people whose journey, sufferings, hopes, and expectations became theirs.