John Baptist Scalabrini – Spirituality

John Baptist Scalabrini – Spirituality

fondatore scalabrini spiritualità

The Spirituality of Bishop Scalabrini
by Mario Francesconi, cs

Read the text


He was fully committed

«God had endowed him with an intellect which was quick, versatile, sharp, clear and vast. No matter what discipline he engaged in, he succeeded without a hint of difficulty and he dealt with the most difficult questions of philosophy, theology, history and politics with such confidence and clarity that kept me in awe, as if he had specialized in these matters.

His motto was St. Paul’s words: becoming all things to all people. What was more applicable to him, however, was not so much the second part of that motto (to all people) that is, the vast range of his interests, and, so to say, the latitude of his heart (irreverent as this may seem for one, like him, who bore the burden of all the churches), as, rather, the first part of St. Paul’s words all things: no matter what the task, he committed himself fully to it and not partially».

He firmly believed that God is active in history

«Scalabrini was not a saint by birth, but, rather, he was a laboratory of forces resulting in sainthood: his way of perfection was his ongoing effort toward perfectibility. The saintliness of Blessed Scalabrini never rested in something he had achieved, but was always an authentic tension toward a “self” to be conquered. His mind was set on projects, it was utopic and forward-looking. His attitude could be observed in his attention to God’s footsteps, to his uncertain tracks in the desert, to the signs of the times: because he firmly believed that God is active in history and that “although man is upset about many things, it is God, who leads him“».

A man whose theological virtue is hope

«Faithfulness and constancy were seen as his fundamental moral virtues, and for this reason he was also the man whose theological virtue was hope. His genius was patience, which is also the typical virtue of the fisher of men. His end view of everything (in political matters, as a Founder and even in emigration) was never his initial view. It could be said that his clarity was the reward of his faithfulness.

His saintliness was shaped by his openness to work, study, experimentation, experience, counsel, friendship, cooperation, others’ contributions, failures, crosses and all the other virtues that are the attributes to charity, which is patient, believes all things, hopes and bears all things. This is because, as he said in 1882, he came from Como, the city of the Crucifix. For this reason his motto was: Fac me cruce inebriari (let me be inebriated by the cross)».

From a testimony given by Bishop Geremia Bonomelli, Bishop of Cremona