Châtillon, Today • A Video from Fr. Tomaz Mavrič, CM

by | Nov 22, 2017 | Formation, Reflections

We present a new series of four videos, made by the Congregation of the Mission, inviting us to continue deepening in the meaning of the Vincentian charism, of which we celebrate its 400th anniversary during this year, 2017.

“Love is inventive until infinity,” St. Vincent said. It means we cannot repeat what was done in the past. Today, poverty has multiplied. Therefore, we must ask ourselves what the Saint would do today. We must have the same heart as St. Vincent had, a heart passionate for God and wounded in love for every human being. A heart crucified for each crucified man.

Transcription/Translation of the Video:

Tomaž Mavrič, CM, Superior General: Saint Vincent de Paul had two experiences in his life, in his early priesthood life in 1617 that changed his life forever. It was Folleville and it was then, a few months after, Châtillon. Folleville the experience of spiritual poverty. Châtillon the experience of material poverty, of physical poverty. And this was the encounter that Vincent had in the village of Châtillon, in the parish of Châtillon, when he heard that there was a family in need, in need of help, because they were sick. They needed food. They needed medicine. And what to do? He answered, we need to go. We need to visit them. We need to see what needs they have and then help them concretely.

Andrea: My name is Andrea. I’m 32 years old. This is the second experience I’m having here. The first was ten years ago. I was 20.

Alex: My name is Alex. I come from Ghana.

Abdula: I am Abdula from Morocco, right.

Andrea: I came from jail. I did three years and I atoned for the rest of my sentence here in community. Let’s just say that I’ve done it all at odds, so I wanted to get out of what was the world, anyway, to do things seriously, right? I still wanted to look for – still looking for needs. However, I did not want to make any sacrifices for me anyway the people who stand beside me.

Alex: Before I came here, I was a drunkard, alcoholic. And it was a very strong, you know, something bad for me, because I couldn’t control myself. There was no aim. I didn’t know what sort of person I was. So I asked for help and they directed me to this place, Comunità in Dialogo.

Abdula: In community, to meet me, right, this lifestyle, right, full of love, gave me, saved me, right, gave me rebirth, because I was really a person turned off because I did not love myself.

Andrea: It’s been two years since I’m back and I’m fine today. I owe it to Matteo and to all the workers and to all the guys who supported me and have been close to me. I was bad. I came from the psychiatric hospital. I went through the pains of hell, because I was not myself, so I was sick at first. After a year, however, in order to try to understand, I am dealing with all that discomfort and those difficulties that I made of time.

Abdula: I am able to know myself. I can understand evil and good. I have inside that community spirit. It is important to me now that everything that happens to me, right, that makes me sick, I ask questions. Even if I do not find the answers, I ask questions. It’s important that I go ahead, overcome that moment, right, that difficulty.

Andrea: I have found what every person desires in life, right, anyway, a gesture of love, the closeness of others, a smile early in the morning, of things told truthfully by a friend, right, that perhaps all of society is missing out of this.

Alex: And after a while, I know I can, because I don’t feel, I know who I am now. Something I want everyone to know that what we do here is some teachers that we don’t have outside the community. School and library where they don’t teach a school of life, how to live, how to be, how to be someone. And that is what I learned here. To be somebody. To be a human being.

Abdula: Here I understood, however, that first I saw God as, right, I only saw what I do wrong. But, I did not see God, here, I understood that God is forgiving. God is love. I am a Muslim. But they made me believe in God here in community. That God is great. God is Good. God forgives.

Matteo Tagliaferri, CM, Comunità in Dialogo, Trivigliano: At first, I thought the problem was substance abuse. Removing the substances, right, the drugs, the problem was solved. Instead, right away, after a few days, other boys arrived from two hospitals in Rome. I began to notice that there was a discomfort behind the dependencies, a lack of self-knowledge. They experienced difficulties even with reality, with relationships. So, I begin to understand, speaking with them, that together we had to build something that would allow each of them again to recover as a person. To recover on the inside. Inside, no longer fleeing reality, discomfort, difficulties encountered in everyday life. But that became a starting point for activating in them the larger resources that had so far been either expended or switched off or never developed. And I realized the courage of going out in telling stories of great suffering, right, in assuming a responsibility.

We were the first in the first month, four or five guys and everyone got involved. Some put themselves in the kitchen, others tried to clean the house and we began to give life to that experience simply becoming the daily routine and trying to give the best of ourselves. At first, I remember they all wanted to talk. One spoke, the other spoke, the other spoke and then we agreed. Let us put a principle before us. What came out was respecting each other with love. If you speak, I will listen to you. If I speak, I will listen to you. And then relations began to go a little bit deeper. And everyone’s experience became richness for the other, right. It started like that.

The first month I did not think about building a community, right, because I did something else. The community had entrusted me with something else. But there, at that moment, I could not fail to respond to those needs that came forward. The first one from a desperate father. The son would go to jail. The other two, from two hospitals in Rome, were already HIV-positive, but already sick and would return to the streets. And together we begin to build. I did not imagine then that God wanted to extend the Community as we are today in many parts of the world, right, like in Colombia, Peru, Argentina, and Ukraine, a job experience in Africa, Nigeria. And so it has gone beyond. But all this, in the end, because it was permitted for the person, meeting us, to find the best part of himself. They began to get a taste of this improvement, have more courage. It was so true that the first center was given a Vincentian name, “Welcome more.” The “more” is the “davantage” of Saint Vincent. “Even more,” he said to the queen to whom he turned, “that he got up early in the morning and did so many things in the day and then there was still something to do in the evening. “But what do you want to do, Monsieur Vincent,” the queen said. “Even more, even more!” And that “more” remained impressed in me too.

Video links in other languages:

Questions for dialogue:

After watching this video together, let us discuss with these suggestions:

  1. What main ideas do we get from this video?
  2. How can we implement them in our reality?
  3. Are we adapting our actions with new means according to the current times?
  4. In what “new poverties” are we working, as Vincentians?

Four New Videos on the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of the Vincentian Charism

Many activities have taken place during the Jubilee Year.  All are aware of the videos developed by Father Luigi Mezzadri, CM and directed by Piotr Dziubak, a Polish filmmaker who has important films and documentaries to his credit … some titles: “De Gasperi-mio padre”; “Santo subito. Alle peripherie del mondo with Giovanni Paolo II “; “Liszt”; “Das Fenster zur Welt – 50 Jahre Zweites Vatikanisches Konzil”). The videos developed by Father Mezzadri involve the participation of Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM, superior general.

As you will recall, the first series of videos included titles such as, “The path toward the poor,” “Wrapped in Vincent’s cloak,” and “The sandals of charity” … these videos focus on some objects that belonged to Saint Vincent and that have been preserved in the city of Turin (Italy).  These new videos focus on some of the themes connected to the celebration of the 400th anniversary of our charism: “the globalization of charity,” “your calling,” “toward the peripheries,” “go to Folleville,” “my Folleville,” “return to the spirit.”  All of these videos are intended to make us feel closer to the superior general, but above all, closer to the charism.  These videos have been produced and have subtitles in eleven different languages.

After some months, we now present this second series of videos which correspond to the second pivotal event in Vincent’s life and that are, therefore, related to the element of charity.  The first video “Châtillon today” takes place in “the community in dialogue” in Italy and is directed by Father Matteo Tagliaferri, CM.  The second video, “the Miraculous Medal,” recalls the manner in which the Blessed Mother bestowed this gift upon the Vincentian Family.  The third video, entitled, “the icon of the charism” is a spiritual reflection on the icon of charity, a gift that Father Luigi Mezzadri presented to the General Curia on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the charism.  The last video, “the children, our teachers” is intended to commemorate the ministry of so many Daughters of Charity who can be found in hospitals throughout the world, for example, the Hospital Bambino Gesù in Rome.

These videos will be published on the web pages of the Congregation of the Mission and the Vincentian Family and through the various social networks.  We hope that you will take the time to views these various productions.

Video courtesy of CMGlobal YouTube channel, made from an idea of Fr. Luigi Mezzadri, CM, and directed by Piotr Dziubak.

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