Tuesday 5 April 2011

Missionaries of Divine Revelation

Some of the Sisters seen at Cardinal Piacenza's installation wear a distinctive green habit. They are the Missionaries of Divine Revelation and the green of the habit is in honour of our Blessed Lady and her appearance at Tre Fontane on April 12th 1947 when she revealed herself to Bruno Cornacchiola as the Virgin of Revelation. The Sisters grew out of a lay community that formed itself around devotion to our Lady's apparition there. Cardinal Piacenza, at the time still a lowly monsignor, has been a friend to the Sisters and has encouraged the devotion. Apparently he especially requested Tre Fontane as his titular church, even though it is not one of the traditional Roman churches allocated to cardinals.

As anyone who has been out to Tre Fontanne knows, there are three churches within the domain. The church of St Paul of the Three Fountains commemorating the waters that sprang up when St Paul was beheaded in his martyrdom for the Faith. A second church, Santa Maria Scala Coeli, a sixteenth-century gem church commemorating 1,000 roman soldiers martyred during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian with its dedication referring to a vision recorded above the high altar, of souls being assisted to Heaven by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The third church, seen in the photographs, which was never given a renaissance makeover and so looks much older and simpler both inside and out, which was used for the Mass of the Cardinal's installation as it is the largest of the three. This is Santi Vincenzo ed Anastasio, originally dating to the seventh century, rebuilt in the thirteenth and since 1868 home to Trappist monks who still grow eucalyptus trees and producing herbal remedies, liqueurs and - reputedly- the best chocolates in Rome.

All these are relevant to the Sisters, whose chief chosen work is catechesis. The Virgin of Revelation made clear in her apparition that the Scriptures are explained most properly through the authoritative teaching of the Church. The image of St Paul holding the Scriptures and the image of Our Lady doing the same - highlights the fact that Christ entrusted the message of salvation to the Church for the sake of all mankind. The Sisters were founded:

To think as the Church has always thought,
love as the Church has always loved
and to want what the Church has always wanted.

The apparition also had a strong focus on priests who would abandon the Faith and stray. A prescient concern considering the Church of today. The painting in Santa Maria Scala Coeli is a reminder that the Church needs priests to offer Mass and thereby assist souls to Heaven.

Cardinal Piacenza remains a great friend of the Sisters and another frequent visitor to the convent is pictured below. Mgr Marini with Madre and then before the altar on a day of recollection.

There is one British Sister - formerly from Wigan - now with the Missionaries. May the Lord prosper her vocation and the work of the good Sisters. There is more about them here.

No comments: