St Luigi Scrosoppi

Priest and Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence (entered heaven on this day, 1884)

Dear Gigi,

God has given you a special gift, one today’s world needs desperately: a sensitive heart.  I could see it all over your last note, and the note before, and the note before that.  The moral decadence of your campus, the moral confusion of your peers, the constant tug of temptations that come from living in that neo-pagan environment… Many people never notice or never care even if they do notice.  You, on the other hand, feel tortured by it.  That, my gifted niece, is the grace of God.  With his grace, however, always comes the opportunity (and responsibility) to cooperate.  In your daily prayer, focus on God’s goodness and the wisdom and power of his providence – he will guide you, as you build your COMPASS chapter, and he will show you how to do more for the needy souls around you. Today’s saint was faced with a similar situation.

Luigi and his two brothers all became priests.  They lived in the border region between Italy and Austria, a region devastated by decades of war and the plagues and famines and poverty spawned by war.  The time came when Luigi simply couldn’t bear to see so many orphans, so many souls abandoned to the vagaries of an increasingly hostile industrial society.  He joined forces with some other priests and lay people, and together they gathered the abandoned children of their area, especially the girls, and built a residence for them.  They taught them the basics of academic knowledge, they gave them a robust and lively instruction in the great Christian truths, and they armed them for the world by passing on practical trades like sewing.

It was unpopular work, but Luigi’s heart was too sensitive to give up in the face of obstacles.  Over and over again, as he expanded his first house and began to build more (by the end of his life he had established 12 centers for the care of the poor and abandoned – boys, girls, the sick, and the elderly, no group escaped his lavish love), he had to go begging in the streets for money, for labor, for materials…  Later he would have to engage in political battles as well, when the unification of Italy let loose a storm of anticlerical laws and activities.

Soon his zeal attracted the attention of a group of women from the area who had wanted to dedicate themselves to similar work, and the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence came into being.  Some of the sisters came from poor backgrounds, some were aristocracy, some were highly educated, others couldn’t even read – it didn’t matter, they were united in their love for Christ and their thirst to serve him in the poor.

The students on your campus aren’t dying of fever and lack of food.  But I would venture to say, judging by your descriptions, they their souls may be suffering from even worse plagues and famines.  I know you won’t stand by and let them perish.  Just trust in Providence and keep on loving them in Christ, one by precious one.

Your devoted uncle,


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