Rosminians organisation

Spirit and organisation

The spirit of the Rosminian community is strongly characterised by the belief that God speaks to people in a variety of ways, and makes His will known according to the abilities of each person. For the Rosminian, the main ways God prompts people are:

- through the request of someone in need; - through someone speaking on behalf of a person in need; - through the needs themselves being seen.

Membership

There are two kinds of membership in the Institute of Charity. The first are those who take on themselves the discipline of the society and bind themselves by vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The second is normally composed of people who are married, but may include those who are single but do not feel called to the religious life. These people strive to live according to the Rosminian charism, to pray daily and meet with others when possible.

As with all religious communities, a person who wishes to embrace the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, goes through a period of intense discernment. After two years of noviceship first profession is made which includes the temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He thus becomes a scholastic, but is not incorporated into the institute until he becomes a coadjutor after a further period of religious, spiritual and academic preparation. Coadjutors add the promise of not seeking any promotion either within the society or outside. Religious vows are renewed at this time, but now for life.

Vows

For Rosminians, poverty does not mean relinquishing all possessions, but rather in not being possessed by one's possessions; to this end, members of the congregation have always been permitted to own personal possessions. The vow of chastity is understood in the sense of not only remaining unmarried and abstaining from sexual activity, but also in how people are to be treated. The vow of obedience means listening to the requests of those in charge, taking into account the good of God's people, and prayerfully seeking to see the hand of God in what is being asked.

Further information

The institute is governed by a provost-general chosen by elected members. He has full powers except for a few exceptional cases. The institute is divided into provinces. The Provincial Superior of the Gentili Province which covers England and Wales, Ireland, the United States and New Zealand is Father David Myers.

The main houses in Italy are Monte Calvario, which has long been both a novitiate and house of theological study; the college founded in 1839 for young boys at Stresa, and the large college for older ones at Domodossola built in 1873. The care of the Sanctuary of S. Michele della Chiusa, an ancient abbey on a steep mountain-peak near Turin, was accepted in 1835.

The founding of the English province is inseparably linked with the names of Luigi Gentili and Ambrose de Lisle. They were sent by Rosmini in 1835 with two companions to teach both lay and church students. Invited to the Midland district, the fathers taught for a while at Old Oscott, and in 1841 opened the mission of Loughborough. Many converts were made and some missions founded in the neighbourhood, and in 1843 the first public mission ever preached in England was given by Gentili. In the same year at Ratcliffe, near Leicester, the foundations were laid for a novitiate designed by Pugin, but it became a school.

The Rosminians serve in 15 parishes throughout England and Wales.

© Ordo Altaria Mariana 2011