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Lay Canossians

Magdalene and the Laity
Magdalene of Canossa, moved by the Holy Spirit and promoted by zeal for “the glory of God and the good of the neighbor” (Epistolario), from the beginning of her work, singled out and formed lay persons called to participate in the charism of “her least Institute”(Unabridged Rule)

Her aim was very clear: to increase the number of apostles willing to cooperate in spreading the Kingdom of God in the world through the proclamation of the Gospel and the witness of charity, contemplated in Christ Crucified and made visible in His Mother at the foot of the Cross (cfr. Jn. 19:25-27).

In dialogue with the Pastors of the Church and attentive to the needs of the places in which her Religious Family was established, Magdalene drew up “Plans for the Tertiaries”, that is, projects for adult persons who, remaining in the lay sate, shared her spirituality, her style of life and her great apostolic passion: “above all to make Jesus known”. In order to nourish their apostolic charity, she would offer them various initiatives for formation (Unabridged Rule).

Canossian Charism shared to the Laity

In the history of the Institute, the laity shared in the charism in different ways: societies, unions, associations and groups. In the variety of names and forms of actualization, one essential element remains constant: the awareness of a charismatic gift that does not exhaust itself in the religious Institutes of the Sons and Daughters of Charity. By the power of the Holy Spirit, this gift is shared by all the lay persons who feel called to the “perfection of charity” according to the understanding that Magdalene of Canossa had of the Gospel, beginning from the Paschal Mystery.

On May 1, 1950, the Church approved the “Statutes of the Canossian Collaborators” which need to be reformulated, keeping in mind the challenges of the contemporary culture and the sensitivity of the laity of our times.

Identity of the Lay Canossian

The Lay Canossian, attracted by the charism of Magdalene, is called to live the love of Christ Crucified in the secular dimension, for the glory of God and the salvation of all.  Inserted fully in the social and ecclesial realities of his/her time, he/she makes present the gratuituous love of the Father by his/her proclamation, witness of life and active charity.  Attentive to the manifold forms of human poverty, he/she promotes life and shares in the suffering and needs of his/her neighbors. The Lay Canossian, formed by Jesus Crucified, relates to the Father with filial trust and attentive to welcome the presence of God and seek His will in the events of life. He/She finds in Mary, Mother of Charity at the Foot of the Cross, a model of faith, fortitude and gratuituous gift.

Mission of the Lay Canossian

The charism of charity, “a fire which spreads and seeks to embrace all” (Unabridged Rule), makes the Lay Canossian courageous and creative in proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel together with the whole people of God.  Where possible, he/she collaborates in the specific Canossian ministries in the church  - education, evangelization,  pastoral care of the sick,  formation of the laity and  spiritual exercises.

His/her mission is characterized by:
The special attitude to see and to serve the Crucified in the “crucified brothers and sisters”, in the least of society, in those far away from God, and in those whose dignity as children of God is disfigured the communitarian dimension of service in collaboration with all, in a welcoming openness to diverse cultures, mentalities and religions universality, in the desire to promote and evangelize each and every person, even with a commitment “ad gentes”

Association of “Lay Canossians”
The Association of” Lay Canossians” is composed of persons living in the world, who participate in the charism of the Institute of the Canossian Daughters of Charity.   The Association is regulated by its own National Statutes drwn up according to the local needs.  The lay person who decides to belong to the Association declares his/her commitment in one of the modalities.   Among the members of the Association, some may decide to express their dedication to Christ by making private vows.  Those Lay Canossians who wish to live in community may freely choose to do so for certain periods of time and in ways agreed upon together.

I do thank God for “calling” me according to  His specific plans for this charism. YES! This is a “charism” - a  gift which comes from the grace of God and which contains the identity of my “being” as a person. A “charism” that God makes me  a “person”.   But on the other hand, I do believe, this charism, has to be put at the service of the whole community and I do realize this plan for the growth of the community. YES! The gift received has to be SHARED because only by SHARING that  it becomes COMPLETE.

In every way possible, as a Lay Canossian, I feel the need to be identified with our models: Christ Crucified, most patient, most obedient, most loving and most generous. In order to live by His spirit I need above all: FAITH. Yes to be obedient also is to have a deep FAITH. A Faith that our actions needed directions towards Him! As Lay Canossians, indeed, a formation is a precious opportunity for us to grow as a holistic person.   "Inspice et fac secundum exemplar" (Ex. 25: 40).  In these words,  we find the invitation to a journey in faith that can lead us towards becoming true witnesses despite our weaknesses, poverty and inconsistencies.   YES!  I  do believe every one of us is called in our “ordinary-simple way” to bring forth the authentic essence of “Love” manifested by Jesus Christ on the Cross. I am very sure that responding to this call is a “gift”  which I have to nurture through fervent prayer and contemplation. It is the same with everyone.  Jesus does not call us just once;  He calls us all the time  --- every hour, every day --- continuously challenging us to get out of our comfort zones  -- through the desert… into the Promised Land.


-Mrs. Resy Casacop