Message of thanks of Cardinal Angelo de Donatis
Vicar of the Diocese of Rome
Most Reverend Eminence,
My Brother Bishops,
Dear Priests and Deacons,
Reverend Mother General and Apostles of the Sacred Heart,
Dear brothers and sisters,
The rite of beatification included the formal expression of gratitude of the Diocese after the proclamation of the new Blessed. Allow me, however, at the end of this solemn celebration, to express more comprehensively the gratitude that rises up to the Lord from the Church of Rome and from my heart as a Bishop. The recognition of her eternal blessedness offers Mother Clelia to all of us as a model of a life journey brought to completion: a life which pleases the Father, a daughter of God who has attained the “supreme goal” of holiness, to which St. John Paul II invited all of us at the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
The saints and blesseds are lights for our faith journey. I would like to share with you just three features of Mother Clelia which her biography suggested to me and which I offer for our imitation.
The first: Mother Clelia was a woman who loved the Lord from childhood, in an unfailing and trusting manner. Her discovery of the infinite love of Christ, summed up in the Sacred Heart, made her strong and trusting, even in the years of tribulation. Her love of God, her profound surrender to his will, and her certainty that no trial is devoid of meaning and value, were the secret of her holiness. The active life does not become dissipated but rather bears fruit only if it is sustained by a deep contemplative dimension, only if it is rooted in faith that has truly experienced the luminous and calming presence of the Risen One.
The second feature is specific to consecration. Religious life does not shelter one from the fragility of human nature and character. The community is the place of purification and patience, of sanctification in obedience and charity, in the daily fulfillment of one’s own ministry. By means of this, the Lord progressively conforms us to himself in a journey toward what is essential in life, allowing his gifts to shine forth ever more brightly and making us a glowing example for the sisters and for all those whom we encounter. The more selfishness recedes, the more the life of the consecrated person manifests the presence of God. Only in this way does religious life rediscover its value as a prophetic sign of the Kingdom to come.
The third feature is the timeliness of Mother Clelia’s ecclesial charism in the area of charity. At the center of her heart were the poor, the abandoned, orphans and migrants, but above all, sinners in need of conversion. Christian charity is never reduced to social assistance; rather, it is inspired by the love of Christ and desires that all people come to know and love the Lord. The proclamation of the Gospel is the first and essential form of charity. Consequently, the one who proclaims the Gospel reaches out to her neighbor, like the good Samaritan who bends down and binds the wounds of those human beings most sorely tried and forgotten. The life of Mother Clelia is aligned with the insistent appeal of our Bishop, Pope Francis: to become witnesses of the love of Christ in the peripheries and everywhere there are persons who are considered only refuse, in the eyes of this world which is at risk of becoming merciless.
Brothers and sisters, may the Church of Rome, it its multifaceted expressions, embrace the witness of Mother Clelia and benefit from her example: always more deeply rooted in the Heart of Christ, always more faithful to the holy will of God, always moving more closely with love toward our brothers and sisters who await the word of the Gospel and the witness of charity!