LIFE & SPIRITUALITY

MEMORIALE PRIVATO:
THE SPIRITUAL JOURNAL

[Memoriale Privato]
With a Commentary by Rev. Joseph Stofella, CSS [1962]

memoprivatoThe Spiritual Journal [Memoriale Privato] of St. Gaspar Bertoni - English translation by Rev. Giancarlo Mittempergher, CSS [1992]

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Rev. Joseph Stofella, CSS [1885- +1966]

This Diary of Fr. Bertoni covers a relatively early period in his life, from 1808 – 1813. These are notes that he jotted down in some haste – and they offer us some insight into his spirit as it was being formed and shaped by the grace of God for his vocation as Founder. We learn about his Trinitarian reflections translating themselves into the Apostolic Mission of the Church, and his great devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament. His great dedication to the Apostolic Mission of continuing the same Mission Jesus received from His Father [cf. Jn 20] is expressed by the sense of the Offertory [cf. Rm 12:1, f.], obsequium of his entire life to communicating the Father’s Mercy.

The Spiritual Journal: Second Centenary of Its Inception

By Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS – 2008

memoprivato200 The Spiritual Journal [Memoriale Privato] of St. Gaspar Bertoni - A Reflection on the 200th anniversary of Its Inception

The Year 2008 marks the second century since St. Gaspar Bertoni began his Spiritual Journal.  This document covering 1808 picks up almost where his Parish Sermons leave off – and this Spiritual JoJournal is then followed by his published letters, known as his Epistolario.  With these documents, anyone interested in St. Gaspar Bertoni would find a  spiritual chronicle for the better part of his life. If one then would also study his ‘Catechism Lessons‘ taught while still a seminarian [he was ordained a priest on September 20, 1800], our understanding of him would be further intensified.  This reflection on the 200th anniversary of the beginning of his Spiritual Journal is a reflection on some of these writings.

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

[Fabro’s Trilogy]

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

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.

fabrocornelio3b
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.

A Reflection on Fr. Cornelio Fabro’s Presentation: “An Aspect of the Mariology of St. Thomas Aquinas”

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

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.

St. Gemma Galgani, Witness to the Supernatural

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

St.Gemma Galgani was born on March 12, 1878, and died on Holy Saturday in 1903. Our late Stigmatine Confrere, Fr. Cornelio Fabro, as he himself tells us, he spent about three ‘lustra’ [about 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 [in the USA, Princeton University produced 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 Fr. Fabro’s later years he wrote a number of truly spiritual reflections are great 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 of the Supernatural – which he wrote in 1987.


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

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

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

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.

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A Model of Holy Abandonment

[A Theological Reflection on the Spirituality of St. Gaspar Bertoni]

[Nello’s Thesis]

nello_thesisA Model of Holy Abandonment: - Doctoral Thesis by Rev. Nello Dalle Vedove, CSS [1961] - English translation by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

nello2
Rev. Nello Dalle Vedove, CSS [1917- +2006]

This is an English translation of the doctoral thesis of Fr. Nello Dalle Vedove, CSS, the long-time Postulator of the Cause of St. Gaspar Bertoni. Fr. Dalle Vedove is also the author of 6 massive volumes of the biography of St. Gaspar.  This thesis [conducted under the leadership of the great Dominican theologian, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP], over a half century ago, still retains the freshness of that Holy Year of 1950. Fr. Dalle Vedove shows that Holy Abandonment in St. Gaspar’s life was a heroic exercise of the theological virtues, with special emphasis given to Hope.

The Holy Spirit in the Charism of St. Gaspar Bertoni

[Moura’s Thesis]

mouraThe Holy Spirit in the Charism of St. Gaspar Bertoni - Doctoral Thesis by Rev. José Alberto Moura, CSS [1988] - English translation by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

moura
Most Rev. José Alberto Moura, CSS [1943 -]

This is an English translation of the doctoral thesis of the Stigmatine Superior General, Very Rev. Fr. José Alberto Moura, CSS, presently Archbishop of Montes Claros, MG, Brazil. Fr. Moura skillfully shows the working of the Holy Spirit in the charism of St. Gaspar Bertoni, as well as through his devotions to the Sacred Stigmata and to the Holy Spouses, Mary and Joseph. These great mystical graces of God are then translated into an ever more committed Apostolic Mission, at the service of the Bishops of the world.

St. Gaspar Bertoni and Jesus Christ:
Sources and Personal Reflections

[Stimmate Integre]

stimmate_integreSt. Gaspar Bertoni and Jesus Christ: Sources and Personal Reflections [Stimmate Integre] - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2000]

Throughout his long life of almost 76 years, St. Gaspar Bertoni has left behind a written record of much of his activity: from his parish sermons of the first few years of his parish service, in his various preached retreats to priests and seminarians, his parish Missions, through his own spiritual Diary – and in his many letters that have come down to us: St. Gaspar often states that we have been redeemed through the Cross of Jesus Christ and have been justified in his resurrection. Many Stigmatines have understood this to be made manifest in the one mystery of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in both its sorrowful and glorious aspects. This is a theological reflection on this one mystery.

St. Gaspar Bertoni: A Trinitarian Charism of Hope

trin_charSt. Gaspar Bertoni: A Trinitarian Charism of Hope - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [1981]

From Fr. Bertoni’s writings, one can see that his beautiful devotion to the Most Blessed Trinity, seen through the Offertory, Consecration and Holy Communion of the Eucharist, translates itself into the Apostolic Mission of the Church. This is the Mission that Jesus received personally from His Father and shared with His Apostles. It is best expressed as a Holy Abandonment to God, and an Availability to the Church. In showing His Sacred Stigmata, sorrowfully received on Good Friday, in the Cenacle Room gloriously preserved in His Risen Body on Easter night, Jesus tells His Apostles of all time: As the Father sent me, I have sent you. [Cf. Jn 20:20, ff.]

Jesus Christ: Icon of the Invisible God – St. Gaspar Bertoni: Model of Holy Abandonment

Jesus Christ: Icon of the Invisible God - St. Gaspar Bertoni: Model of Holy Abandonment - Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

The use of the term model is familiar to artists,  builders, and all trying to bring about something new and original. Fr. Bertoni’s ideal was Jesus Christ – that we should all make a portrait of Him in our own lives – that as it was said by Christ: whoever sees Me, sees the FatherSt. Gaspar’s idea that w should so imitate Christ that we might serve as a representation of Him.   It is like translating the word of God into our own lives by the way we live.

St. Gaspar Bertoni and the “Depths” of the Human Soul

St. Gaspar Bertoni’s idea of the Depths of the Soul in the spiritual life reflects and ancient tradition in the Church. One of the early tests from this tradition may be found in the second reading in the Liturgy of Hours for the commemoration of St. Augustine. A well-known  citation This classical text is as follows:
“Late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved You! You were within me but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for You. In my unloveliness, I plunged into the lovely things which You created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from You; yet if they had not been in You, they would not be at all. You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness. You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness. You breathed Your fragrance on me; I drew in a breath and now I pant for You. I have tasted You.now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me and I burned for Your peace…! [Confessions, Book 7, 10, 18]. Fr. Bertoni was deeply ‘touched’ by this tradition.
The Ministry of the Word of God in St. Gaspar Bertoni:
an Echo of St. Ignatius of Loyola

by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

The Ministry of the Word of God in St. Gaspar Bertoni: an Echo of St. Ignatius of Loyola - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS

In a previous reflection on St. Gaspar Bertoni, we noted how he had chosen St. Ignatius of Loyola as the Model for his vocation [MP, July 31, 1808] – someone living a life similar to his won. This ideal may have found substance in the Greek philosopher Plato and how ‘ideas’ first ‘modeled’ reality. As an artist, like Michaelangelo, one might use a living ‘Model’ in order to make a portrait.

St. Gaspar wanted his way of life to paint a ‘Portrait of Jesus Christ” [cf. MP, Feb 2, 1809] in our own lives In the area of Exemplarity, the Exemplary Cause [like Jesus’ Resurrection and our own], showers upon us a  divine grace that comes into our lives to make this a reality.

The Image in use for our present reflection is that St. Ignatius was much inspired by the Ministry of God’s Word – and in the Mode of listening to this, St. Gaspar Bertoni proved to be a faithful ECHO of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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ECONOMY
St. Gaspar Bertoni and his Faith-Inspired Economy
of the Goods of God

goods_econSt. Gaspar Bertoni and his Faith-Inspired Economy of the Goods of God - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2015]

In the Stigmatine early history, the finances of the community were cared for by one of the confreres, with the title either of Economus or Spender.  There may have been a facetious reference here to some men who might have been a bit restringent in the management of funds, and those others who had what were known as ‘broader sleeves’ – employing greater generosity in the administration of money.

The interest in this particular study is to note St. Gaspar Bertoni’s great care that the ministry to the dying might not be tarnished by any self-seeking on the part of the minister of the sacraments to the dying.  He also manifested a high level of interest in the better service of the Church and a much greater detachment toward his own work.

Today’s reflection was occasioned by Pope Francis’ recent appeal to religious in their managing estates, inheritance and s patrimony. The religious is not a ‘capitalist’ but a religious – and the handling of every patrimony should be carried out more in imitation of Christ and with an ever greater interest in whatever is for the greater service of the Church.

The Stigmatine and the Management of the Goods of the Church

goods_manageThe Stigmatine and the Management of the Goods of the Church - by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2015]

From all indications, Fr. Bertoni wished to mark his entire undertaking a careful drawing of the portrait of Jesus Christ in the lives of each one. Fr. Gaspar’s whole endeavor could indeed be defined as one great work of beneficence [to serve God and the Church absolutely gratuitously Compendium Rude, n.3 – quoting the Formula of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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ARTICLES

holy_abandHoly Abandonment: the Fundamental Spirit of the Stigmatine Founder [2014]

The spirituality of Father Bertoni developed in an atmosphere of total abandonment into the hands of God, and total availability to the Church. The fundamental example of his daily life was Jesus Christ. Father Bertoni experienced this consciousness of his own nothingness resulting from the concept of creation: all was in the hands of God, having originally flowed from the Creator. From this basic attitude of faith, Father Bertoni gradually developed a very solid spiritual life, totally imbued with a reverential fear, or profound respect, tender love and confident hope.

missionarypreachingReflections on the Stigmatine Apostolic Mission of Preaching [2015]

On the solemn feast of St. Gaspar Bertoni, on June 12, 2015.

synthesisSt. Gaspar Bertoni: A Creative Synthesis of Realism and Hope [2004]

Fr. Bertoni’s devotions in his lifetime were prayed, celebrated and lived. Looking at the long years that he spent confined to his room, in his arm-chair or in his bed, he looked upon his sufferings as being ‘nailed’ to his Cross, and that he was ‘wounded’ but not dead. He continued to exercise his ministry as a preacher of the Stigmata – and offering directed retreats. He looked forward to a Holy Espousals in heaven within the most Blessed Trinity. These insights are present in his reflections also to priests and religious.

balanceSt. Gaspar Bertoni: A Prophetic Balance between Cross and Resurrection [2004]
balance_ptbrUm Balanço Profético entre Cruz e Ressurreição - tradução para a língua Portuguesa por Tereza Lopes, leiga Estigmatina.

In the time of St. Gaspar, it was customary to emphasize only one aspect of the integral Paschal Mystery, and that was its ‘sorrowful’ aspect. Fr. Bertoni manifested a prophetic balance of the integral Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, both its sorrowful aspect as well as our justification through His Resurrection [cf. Rm 4:25].

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