Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini
Founder of Missionary of St. Charles Borromeo - Scalabrinian Fathers
A missionary congregation for migrants
The Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles- Scalabrinians - is an international community of missionary religious who work in thirty countries and five continents and serve the migrants of various cultures, religions and ethnic groups.
The Congregation was founded on November 28, 1887, by Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905), Bishop of Piacenza (Italy).
It was the period of massive emigration from Italy and Europe toward the Americas. It was a far-reaching phenomenon whose importance Bishop Scalabrini was able to grasp in both its social and ecclesial dimensions.
The Congregation is comprised of 710 religious, of which 588 are priests, 11 are missionary Brothers, 104 are student religious and 7 are bishops (data of January 21, 2009).
Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini: Coat-of-Arms
Taking his inspiration from Jacob (Gn 28: 12), Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini chose, as the motto of his Episcopal Coat-of-Arms, the verse, "Video Dominum Innixum Scalae."
This was a metaphor of a man of God who wanted to be on the frontier of dialogue between Heaven and Earth, between God and his People, between the Church and the World, between Faith and Country. Hope as the journey, faith as the stairway, and love as vision.
St. Charles Borromeo, the Patron Saint of Scalabrini Fathers
"The time has come, my dear friends, to definitively place our Congregation under the patronage of a saint, and (...) and to my mind there came - more radiant and gentle than ever - the figure of the great St. Charles.
From now on, you will have the honor of calling yourselves The Missionaries of Saint Charles.
St. Charles was an example of undaunted constancy, of generous patience, of enlightened, unrelenting and magnanimous zeal.
He was an example of all those virtues that make people real apostles of Jesus Christ. He thirsted for souls!"
(To the Missionaries for the Italians in the Americas, March 15, 1892, Piacenza).
Humility as a symbol of lifestyle and servitude
From St. Charles Borromeo the Scalabrinian Missionaries have inherited even his motto, namely, "humility," a virtue that should characterize their life style and their service to the migrants.
"One saves souls on one's knees," St. Charles Borromeo used to say.
That is to say, we save souls with prayer, humble prayer to "Christ, meek and humble of heart," to Christ who humbled himself to be one with all humanity.