St. Gaspar Bertoni: A Trilogy in Honor of His ‘Model’

[Fabro’s Trilogy]

It is a distinct privilege [with the Advent Season of this Stigmatine 2nd centenary year] to offer these translations of three ‘internal’ conferences Father Fabro offered regarding St. Gaspar Bertoni.  Father Cornelio Fabro, CSS [1911-1995] was certainly one of the most renowned confreres of all our Stigmatine family.

Rev. Cornelio Fabro, CSS [1911- +1995]

Fr.   Fabro CSS himself was indefatigable in his Service of the local Heavenly Church [from preaching at Sunday Mass, hearing Confessions – and in fulfilling most important services for the Holy See].    He was most attracted to the imitation/following of the Heavenly Model’ and traces this concept in the history of human thought.     In the twilight years, there is much inspiration for Fr. Fabro through St. Gaspar’s “The every-day Witness of being illumined in prayer.”

These three conferences are entitled: “Faithful Witness of a Man of the Church” [1982] – “ Heroic Witness of the Suffering Servant in the following of Christ as Model”  [1990 – St. Gaspar’s Canonization was in  Nov. 1989]; “An Every-Day Witness of Illumination in Prayer”  [2009]. These include the culminating years of Fr. Fabro’s Stigmatine life.
Fr. Fabro himself was a life-long most sincere devotee. What Fr. Fabro has written about St. Gaspar, can easily be applied to this most renowned Stigmatine – and remains the ideal for the Stigmatine Family.

fabrotriltotalSt. Gaspar Bertoni: A Trilogy in Honor of His 'Model' - by Rev. Cornelius Fabro, CSS - English translation by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

St. Gaspar Bertoni: Witness to Heroic Suffering
in Imitation to Jesus Christ

[These are the thoughts of our late Confrere,
Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS]

Fr. Bertoni’s supernatural ‘witness’ has a special character, all his own. His recurring serious illnesses which cluttered almost the entire space of his long life, give ample testimony to this. During all this, he entertained visits from people in powerful positions, prelates, humble priests and people of the world… none of these visits could interrupt the testimony of the Cross in his body lacerated as the ‘Suffering Servant of the Lord’, described by Isaiah. In all of this, he kept his attention riveted also on the martyr Saints, whom he had proposed for himself, that of imitating them with that fullness and totality of spirit, the amazes us. At the same time, this witness of his exalts us in filial joy and the special light that was shed on the mystery of the pilgrim Church in a wicked world.

The ‘Ladder to Paradise’ which is the Cross, is the throne of the immolation of the Word made flesh … For sure, during the slow unfolding of time during his painful illnesses, he felt often left quite alone with God in the solitude of his suffering. Fr. Bertoni would often think of the lacerated Church, suffering under those instigations of the Evil One, horrified by so many betrayals, so much weakness, oscillations, flights, persecutions more or less disguised, but always going on in the Church herself. The atrocious life-long sufferings of this Servant of God deeply impacted the life of the Stigmata, which metaphorically he experienced throughout his life.

The Mystery of Human Suffering - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2017]

St. Gemma Galgani, Witness to the Supernatural

St. Gemma Galgani was born on March 12, 1878, and died on Holy Saturday, 1903. Our late Stigmatine conferred, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, as he himself tells us, spent about three ‘ lustra’ [3 periods of five years] studying her writings [Cf. Lettere di Santa Gemma Galgani – that date from September 1975 until May 5, 1991].

Fr. Fabro’s early years found him as one of the leading Thomistic philosophers in the world. His second intellectual period was dominated by his intense, original work on Soren Kierkegaard’s[in the USA, Princeton University producer a number of Kierkegaard’s volume – and the interest in him continues (cf. Jack Mulder, Jr., Kierkegaard and the Catholic Tradition. Conflict and Dialogue. Indiana University 2010)]. In Fabro’s later years he wrote a number of truly spiritual reflections of depth. High on the list of his priorities is the extraordinary St. Gemma Galgani.

He may have been drawn to St. Gemma from his real devotion to the Stigmatine Founder, St. Gaspar Bertoni.  For Fr. Fabro, St. Gaspar was asked by Divine Providence to bear the heavy cross of so much physical suffering for decades – a major element in his holiness. Fr. Fabro was most interested in what the extraordinary phenomena in the spiritual life can say to present-day believers: St. Gemma Galgana, Witness to the Supernatural – which he wrote in 1987.

St. Gemma Galgani, Witness to the Supernatural - by Rev. Cornelio Fabro, CSS, with English translation by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

A Reflection on Fr. Cornelio Fabro’s Presentation:

“An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Thomas Aquinas”

This is a study prepared by the renowned Stigmatine, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS. He died on May 4, 1995, a few days after celebrating his own 60th anniversary of Priesthood [the last Mass he would offer], in the nursing home where he spent his last months. Fr. Fabro’s intellectual and spiritual life unfolds in general strokes as follows: in his early, he became quickly renowned as a Thomist philosopher [in 1974, Fr. Fabro was chosen by the  Master General of the Dominicans to present St. Thomas to the Italian civil authorities].

In addition to his renowned Thomistic expertise, Fr. Fabro spent a number of decades, pondering the powerful input of the philosophy of the ‘Melancholic Dane”, Soren Kirkegaard – whose many works were translated in the USA by Princeton University. In his later years, he was much devoted to his “Profiles of the Saints’, his long years of Sunday sermons at Santa Croce in Rome – and true quality reflection on the Passionist tertiary, the stigmatist, St. Gemma Galgani.

In our reflection of Fr. Fabro’s presentation of St. Thomas, he presents some insights of the Angelic Doctor regarding Mary – many interpreters believe he did not give a good explanation of the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception – yet, maintaining a life-long profound devotion to Mary.

A Reflection on Fr. Cornelio Fabro's Presentation: "An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Thomas Aquinas" - by Rev, Joseph Henchey, CSS [2017]

Father Cornelio Fabro: Stigmatine, Devotee of His Founder

A “Cornelio Fabro Symposium” was held in Aquinas Hall, Catholic University of America, in Washington DC, from April 1st-2nd, 2016. An American Stigmatine confrere was chosen by the organizers, to present a few thoughts from contacts in Rome with Fr. Fabro.  This “Fabro Symposium’ was organized by the ’Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project’ for the sake of bringing more and more students in this young 21st century,   to an appreciation of the treasure that the Stigmatine, Father Fabro, has been for the Church through much of the 20th Century and beyond.

The “Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project” was founded on April 11, 2002, by the Superior General of the Institute of the Incarnate Word [founded in Argentina], Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela. This group has as its immediate aim the diffusion of the thought and works of Fr.  Cornelio Fabro. On March 7, 2004 the “Project” was officially presented together with the publication of the first volume of the Complete Works of Fr. Fabro. Presently 22 volumes of the 100 planned volumes have been published. In 2011 the “Cultural Project” actively collaborated in the organization of different initiatives for the celebration of the centenary of Fabro’s death [August 24, 1911-May 4, 1995].

Fr. J. Henchey, CSS participated in the Introductory Panel and submitted an article for the Symposium. The title of this study is” “Father Cornelio Fabro- A Stigmatine – Devoted to his Founder.”

Father Cornelio Fabro: Stigmatine, Devotee of His Founder - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2016]
Account of Fabro Symposium - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2016]