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Oct 02, 2008

Works Panorama

Works Panorama

A Beautiful Branch Extended to the Men of our Time











“Before this prodigious spectacle (the giving of the Son) The priests of Betharram have felt impelled to sacrifice  themselves  to imitate Jesus Christ, annihilated and obedient, and to dedicate themselves completely to give others  the same happiness”
(Manifesto of the Founder)

In Saint Michael the “Here I am” was strongly missionary, continually motivated by the search and the obedience to the Will of God, manifested through human mediations (the Church, the Superiors, the people, the social reality, etc.). Faithful to the “Here I am of the Son of God”, he opened and closed houses, according to the challenges which the reality of that moment presented and to respond to the calls of the Chuirch, always helped by a sincere community discernment and by his great spirit of faith.

Our Rule of Life applies, at the present time, the spirit of Saint Michael, with this beautiful affirmation: “In men and in peoples marked by all kinds of injustices and of poverty (the religious of Betharram)  contemplate the sorrowful face of Christ who took the place of all the victims (Manifesto of the Founder). Through our activities, we get close to every human person in their different forms of poverty”. (RL, 118).

We the Religious of Betharram face today the great challenge not to defraud the Charism of “Here I am”.  With less than 300 members, forming more than 60 communities, inserted in 13 countries and 4 continents, we can perhaps give the impression that we cannot have a significant presence in the different environments, because of the excessive dispersion.  The mystic of the Incarnation, the one who wants to contemplate the sorrowful face of  Christ,  nevertheless, is not guided by human criteria.  What is important is not the number, nor the strength, nor the financial power of its members or of their works: what counts is to be there where the Son of God is incarnated today, and then to collaborate with Him so that every human being can be happier.  “We commit ourselves with our whole being to try to give to others the same happiness” (Rule of Life, 11).

At present the Betharram Congregation responds to its apostolic vocation exercising the most varied ministries.  Faithful to its most ancient tradition, it collaborates very closely with the Bishops, in Parishes of large cities, such as Sao Paolo, Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Droitwich, Rome, Milan, Asunción, Chiang Mai.  It accepts parrochial ministries in several other suburban and rural Parishes, some having a large population, others very humble, considering as a privilege those places where others perhaps do not want or cannot assume the work.  Small apostolic communities which try to be evangelical leaven  in the small villages of the Brench Bearn or of the Italian Tuscany or of the Roman countryside, among the people of Ivory Coast and Central Africa, among the Karians of the far away Thailand or sharing the poverty of the marginalized populations of Nueva Esperanza in Northern Argentina and of the peasants of San Joaquín and the Colmena in Paraguay.

“The only criterion which directs our apostolic mission is that of the greatest utility and the desire to respond to the more urgent calls of the different forms of poverty”. (Rule of Life, 18).  Thus we keep our presence in the large and historical Schools of Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, where the valuable collaboration of the laity permits us to exercise the valuable apostolate of education in the world of youth and children, in those countries where youth continues to be the majority, but which also needs wise teachers.

Other forms of presence respond to the new poverties of our time.  Thanks to the help of thousands of volunteers and the dedication of missionaries who sacrifice themselves the Beautiful Branch tends its friendly hand and collaborates in the development of complete regions of the Republic of Central Africa, organizing the rural schools and the different health stations, serving the population which the State does not reach. In Thailand the beautiful  Social works of Ban Pong succeed to liberate hundreds of girls from danger and from the temptation of easy money, which they can get from prostitution or sexual exploitation.  In the first world of Italy there are religious men who have opted to share their time and life with the new poor, of whom much is spoken, but that few give themselves to help them: these are those affected by AIDS.

Tobia Sosio,SCJ

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