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The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St Charles Borromeo – Scalabrinians was founded by Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini in Piacenza on October 25, 1895, with the brother and sister Father Joseph and Mother Assunta Marchetti as Cofounders. Its mission is the evangelical, missionary service of migrants, especially the poorest and neediest. It spread initially in Brazil, and later to Europe (1936), North America (1941), and in recent decades to various countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, so that today it is present in 26 countries, with 800 Sisters and 159 communities. The General Headquarters are in Rome. The Sisters live their lives for Jesus Christ according to the demands of the Scalabrinian charism, practicing fraternal life in community as a vital element of religious consecration, and strengthening their fidelity to their vocation through prayer, meditation on the Word of God, and the Eucharistic Celebration, source of communion with God and their brothers and sisters.
As their Congregation has developed within history, the Scalabrinian Missionary Sisters have dedicated themselves – and still do – to education, social and pastoral activities, the pastoral care of health, catechesis, evangelization, and collaboration with local churches to assist migrants and the poor.
Faithful to the charism and attentive to the challenges of mobility, the Congregation accepts the Church’s proposal to place itself at the service of those caught up in the phenomenon of migration, and to be “signs of God’s tender love toward the human race and … special witnesses to the mystery of the Church, Virgin, Bride and Mother” (John Paul II, Vita consecrata, 57), prompted by the words of the Gospel, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35).
By living the Scalabrinian charism, Scalabrinian Sisters welcome God’s love as a gift to be passed on to those suffering the hardship of being migrants.
In this way they guarantee the continuation of the prophetic intuition of the Congregation’s *Founder, John Baptist Scalabrini, who translated this intuition into a practical socio-pastoral project, entrusting its early steps in history to the generous determination of the *Cofounders, Father Joseph Marchetti and Mother Assunta Marchetti.
The charism of the MSCS Sisters arose at the time of the great Italian emigration toward the Americas at the end of the 19th century, as a response of faith that took practical shape as an institution. It continues with the spiritual heirs of Blessed Scalabrini: the *Missionaries of St Charles, the *Missionary Sisters of St Charles Borromeo – to whom the *Secular Scalabrinian Missionaries, who drew their inspiration from Bishop Scalabrini, were added at a more recent date – and the *Scalabrinian Lay Missionaries.
As time passed, the underlying value was grasped of certain elements inherent in history, such as the Latin word humilitas, which had a determining place in the spirituality of the Founder, who had in turn drawn it from St Charles Borromeo, the patron he left to “his” congregations. From this word MSCS Sisters learn to be “sisters”, “servants”, “free gift”.
Accompanying and supporting migrants in their exodus, the Sisters also seek to draw inspiration from the Risen One who, on the road to Emmaus, comes “close” and who, with pedagogical tact, takes the initiative in a dialogue that leads the disciples to the discovery of his identity, in other words the Truth. Migrants in turn become a “teacher” for them, calling them to constant renewal.