I thought that it is good for you during the Exercises to dedicate some time to think about your Institute and the means to make it progress.
You have such quantity of grace, of gifts. You have already worked much and gained experience, that you must put everything at the service of your religious Congregation. There should not only be a Confirmation but a Pentecost in this Retreat, where everyone receives the Holy Spirit, not just for herself but also to distribute it to others and sanctify them.
I will indicate to you various points on which each one has to give a written, clear and brief answer.
1. How to work for vocations. Recruitment and formation. First, formation for the aspirants, postulants, novices and then, for the professed of temporary vows.
Many things in this regard have to come to maturity and you are responsible for them. Your Institute's future shall be as you prepare it. If you have persons who are weak-minded, of hysterical characters, of frail health, what Institute will you have tomorrow?
2. The need of studies and the way to organize them, in order to become capable of doing your apostolate which is so beautiful, so great. You need to prepare capable members to serve the Divine Master, not only with the physical strength, but also with intelligence and profound knowledge. It is useless to lay out to you the great program I have in mind, if you are still very far from the practical aspect.
3. How to earn the income to build your house, to provide yourselves of the means of apostolate, of working materials. Our houses cost three times more than the houses of the other Institutes, because we need the premises, machinery and supplies. You have already done much for the apostolate, but you have still to do much more.
4. Apostolate of priestly service.
5. Eucharistic apostolate.
6. Liturgical apostolate.
What do you think of them, how would you like to carry out your apostolates? The Holy Spirit talks to you; communicate that which he tells you for common edification. God's will shall be better known from this.
The Constitutions are the wide path; the manner to go through this path is to be determined. Count much on the Holy Spirit who is with you; this Spirit who has to enlighten, sanctify, guide all the organization of your Institute.
7. Divine Office. You are to express what you think of this. The Divine Office shall help to make your Institute better.1
Resolutions. - They are determined in the last days of the Exercises, however, they are first prepared in the soul. There can be different kinds of resolutions, like those that concern our per- fection, those that have to do with the perfection of the duty.
If someone would say: I totally abandon myself to the Lord; He may use me as a dust cloth or as an altar linen; I am in his hands and I only seek to please Him, my Spouse. If she really possesses this disposition, she is well under way towards holiness.
There can be the resolution that concerns the carrying out of one's duty, the way to make oneself more useful for the good of the Institute; the study, so as to be like the industrious bee that makes honey for Jesus; the effort to work and produce more. If the Lord has given a person gifts, she must put them at his service and of the neighbor. In an office of responsibility, one can do a great good or also a great harm.
Ordinarily, we are incline to make the examination of other's conscience. Let us recollect ourselves at least during the Exercises, in order to sincerely recognize our wrong doings. If a Superior does not pray enough, if she does not provide for all those subject to her, she can seriously fail and her sorrow must be deeper.
May the individual resolution be complete, may it embrace the mind, will, heart, because it is to serve Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. Do not invent any difficulty, it will come by itself.
If someone is in need of charity, do not make three reso-lutions on this virtue, but make one that is complete. Charity of thoughts, practical charity, charity vivified by prayer.
Why do I have to love that Sister? I feel disgusted. But I must love her because she is God's image, much more, a living image of the Crucified One who says to love and who represents to you the Divine Redeemer. Even if the Sister has displeased you, she is still Jesus' image and for her, Jesus shed his blood.
Do not ever think of evil, but always excuse, interpret well. It could be that the Sister whom you esteem less, shall be in a higher place than you in Paradise. How dear and beautiful before God, are certain persons who are judged less good here on earth!
Practice charity of the heart. Desire the good of the Sisters, desire that they may be saints, be glad of their gifts, of their good example of which you must not be jealous, understand their need and make them yours. Keep your Sisters in you heart, in the Mass and Communion.
Charity in the will. To forgive, to help and to do all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Think well of everybody; do good to everybody; desire sincerely the good of all.
There can be someone whose resolution is on humility.
Humble thoughts: to seek the last place and to stay there without pretence; to believe to be sinners and very much in need of grace; to believe of being inferior to others and to behave as such.
Humility of sentiments: a humble heart which does not exalt oneself; nor delight vainly; does not have ambitions and vain glory; does not despise anybody.
Humility in life: recumbe in novissimo loco1 (to sit in the lowest place), to select for us the humblest things; the most tiring duties; the less beautiful objects; to always prefer mortification; the less pleasant things. Do it without being noticed and commended by others.
In addition to the principal resolution, it is necessary to prepare a spiritual program which is more general than the particular resolution. It includes our duties. One who has an office of responsibility can extend her program on the office duties; another one may dwell on the points proposed by the Congregation, etc. This kind of program for the year is made similar to the prepa-ration of the school-year program, for the preachings, etc. It is good to read it once a month or even once during the week.
To progress in the exercise of the office, of the duty, whatever it is; it could even consist of how to improve the washing of the pots and pans, of how to sweep. With the diligent exercise of your duty, you can prolong your Sisters' life, as well as the life of the Priests.
Holiness consists in doing well not the unusual things, but in doing well one's duty, without vanity, wholeheartedly and for God's love.
Organize the apostolate well. Do not immediately think of many novelties; improve and develop that which is already exis-ting; let the works that were started mature and produce. Above all, pay attention to the substance and be constant.
There are 365 days in a year. If you will make a little step each day, what a progress you will obtain at the end!
Let us ask Jesus to guide us in making the resolutions and to bless them.
The Exercises are like a sacramental. Each day, a little more is understood, each day we become closer to God. Let us correspond to all the light and grace that God gives us.
1 Fr. Alberione had proposed for the occasion, an initiation to the Divine Office, asking each one of the sisters as to the opportunity and extent of praying it. Thereafter, it was limited to the recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
1 Lk. 14, 10.