Canossian Spirituality

“Charitas in Humilitate,” read the words engraved in the Emblem of the Institute of the Canossian Sisters (in left sidebar). To appreciate charity in humility we must turn to the object of contemplation of the Institute – Jesus Crucified.

Contemplation of the Crucified Christ revealed to Magdalene a paradoxical contrast: when most powerless, dejected, unloved and stripped of all external symbols of worth, Jesus is yet internally alive and very active exercising to the highest degree, the virtue of charity toward God and man.

Love manifested in Jesus Crucified explained the two fold commandment of love which for Magdalene, was the synthesis of a Gospel life:

Charity Towards God:

  • “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
  • “My food is to do the will of the One who sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)
  • “…he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

Charity Towards Neighbor:

  • “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

“Inspice et Fac Secundum Exemplar” Look and do according to the example, urged Magdalene. This imitation of the Model is done with Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows at the Foot of the Cross as our companion, for she too participated in her Son’s suffering as prophesied by Simeon at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-35). To Magdalene, Mary was constituted as Mother of Charity, when at the foot of the Cross she embraced all of us, sinners though we are, to her heart at the words of her Son: Ecce Mater Tua” (John 19:16).

These words are etched on the Medal worn by every Daughter of Charity. It is of Our Mother of Sorrows, as a reminder to reflect often of her and her sorrows, which always lead us to the contemplation of the Greatest Love, Jesus Crucified.

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