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In Romania with the Guanellian nuns now also the Servants of Charity. They continue the precious service to the disabled started by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. For an investment of means they knock on the door of the Pious Union.

of Fr. Gabriel Cantaluppi

SDon Guanella wrote that "doing good to old and good-willed priests has always been a source of blessing for the House of Providence", because thanks to them he had been able to extend his work to places where he would never have imagined. At the invitation of a Romanian priest, guest of the Casa Santa Maria della Provvidenza in Rome, the Guanellian nuns opened a charitable work in Romania, which had recently been liberated from the communist regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu.

It was 1993 and the choice fell on Iaşi, a university city of around half a million inhabitants in north-eastern Romania, on the border with Moldova. The nuns' work currently runs a retirement home for the elderly, a soup kitchen for the poor and a student residence for girls; in Romania there are also two other female Guanellian presences, in Sagna and Scheia, with activities to promote children and pastoral commitment. And some young Romanian women have also embraced religious life among the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence.

In 2015, the centenary year of Don Guanella's death, in some premises given over by the nuns the Servants of Charity started a training center for young people preparing for the Guanellian consecrated life. On 21 September 2017 in a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by the diocesan bishop Monsignor Petru Gherghel, five of them received a crucifix as a sign of welcome in the "San Luigi Guanella House of Vocational Discernment". In the following years, around thirty young people were helped to discuss the future plan of their lives: some decided to choose religious life. In October 2021 two young men, Andrew and Josif began the novitiate in Bucharest, led by their Indian brother Father Sebasthiyan Arockianathan, master of novices. So good promises!

Finally, it must be added that on 22 June 2019 sixteen lay people from Sagna, Scheia and Iasi made the first promise in the Association of Guanellian Cooperators: the third branch of our great Guanellian Family was also born on Romanian soil. 

In Iaşi, as in other Romanian cities, a significant number of homeless people live, who found themselves without work after the closure of the large industries supported by the  communist regime.  Furthermore, many young people, when they turn eighteen, are discharged from orphanages and find themselves without support, so  after a short time they find themselves on the road. The seminarians actively collaborate to "touch them by the hand", that is, with help and support activities. In the recent pandemic period, even with all the precautions, the "imagination of charity" to which Pope Francis urges us has not disappeared. So, closeness through phone calls or messages has been added to concrete gestures of solidarity such as the distribution of food, hot meals and clothing, which in some way intend to help the weakest.

Don Guanella particularly loved some guests in his homes, who following Cottolengo's example he called "good sons". Right near Bucharest, in the Chitila area, the nuns of Mother Teresa of Calcutta had opened a center for them: they had welcomed them when they were small children and now they are aged 30 to 45; their adulthood constitutes no small difficulty. Since last 2021, the Servants of Charity have taken on the mission of Mother Teresa's nuns and have thus opened a second house in Romania, making use of the help of novices. This is how Don Guanella's purpose comes true,  that is, the novices "should not only be advised, but also ordered to carry out works and exercises of charity, such as assisting the sick, catechism for the chronically ill elderly and the like. Indeed and especially the care of the sick is an obligation of the Rule; because nothing is better than these exercises for informing the novice in the spirit of faith and charity" (Regulations 1910). How dear these poor people were to the Founder is expressed in his words, which in a vocabulary that is obsolete for us reflect great respect and affection: «If it is true that every man has a soul, they too deserve our attention, I should say our reverence, because the unconscious soul of these reflects something of infantile innocence. Among them there often shines a glimmer of intelligence, and even when this is hidden, the rare heart is not revealed to be sweet and sensitive, and in general it can well be said that the "good children" - as they are called among us - are full of affection for anyone who does them good."

With Romania's entry into the European Community, it was necessary to adapt to the regulations regarding assistance and education works; so also this work in Bucharest, in order to continue its mission, must undertake total renovation and improvement works. This is an undertaking greater than the strength of the small Romanian Guanellian community in normal times; now the difficulties have increased enormously as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine. 

The Pious Union of the Transit of San Giuseppe, through the help of many benefactors,  wants to become a channel of Providence so that a new prophecy of charity can illuminate the Romanian capital. In the next issues of La Santa Crociata we will continue to inform our readers of how this work continues.

21 September 2015, in Iasi, blessing of the Bishop of the dependencies of the Formation House, sold in
loaned by the Daughters of Santa Maria dlla Provvidenza to the Servants of Charity. 

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