Formula for the vow of Charity
Bartolomea wrote it out in 1829, committing herself by vow to do everything for the good of her neighbour. It is a landmark in her vocational quest, through which she reveals a clearer understanding of her journey of faith: becoming a saint in a life of charity, by being a neighbour to those in need of bread, care, instruction or assistance, and above all, of God. At this point she promised God total self-availability in the spirit of the “Magnificat”: I am a poor instrument which in the hands of God can do marvellous things.
(for full italian text see in pdf).
My good Jesus, I know that love of you should never be separated from true love of our neighbour. Therefore I, Bartolomea, in my desire to please you in all things and to heed the inner urgings that come from you, solemnly vow to treat my neighbour with the greatest charity, both spiritual and corporal, I shall be capable of.
From now on, all that God has given me I will no longer consider as my own, but as granted me to be used for the benefit of my neighbour.
Life, health and talent, thoughts, words and actions, things I possess and whatever I may have in future, I will use it all for the benefit and solace of my dear brethren.
For the sake of sinners I will devote all kinds of practices of piety, prayers, acts of self-denial, and every time I come and kneel at your feet, my Crucified Lord, I will pray for their conversion so insistently, my dear Jesus, that you will not be able to deny me that grace. To prevent sin, besides, I promise you to do my utmost, but do uphold me in my weakness.
I will hold most dear to my heart the youth, all my dear Oratorio. I will especially care for those girls who are most dissipated and far from you. Such girls I will tirelessly pursue and try by all means to work my way into their heart and so draw them to you. If my loving attempts are of no avail, far from giving up I will redouble my efforts and I will keep approaching them with a holy concern; I will not desist till I have led them back to you.
Regarding the illiterate, I will spare no pains. I will teach them, with charity and patience, the little I have learnt, nor will I hesitate to go myself to seek those who are in need of instruction: I will be most charitable to them.
Poor people who are sick and the bed-ridden will truly be the delight of my heart.
I will visit everyone of them as often as I can. I will do all I can by word and deed, doing for them the meanest and most repulsive services and tirelessly assisting them all; and also, as far as circumstances and obedience will allow, when they are on the point of death.
I will give the poor as much material help as I can. I will do my best to find out those who are really needy, and on them I will be most lavish in my charity. I will deprive myself of all that is superfluous in food as well as in clothing, and limit myself to what is strictly necessary that I may help the poor more with it; and if at any time I should go hungry for their sake I will be glad of it, and I promise I will do it. If I come to know of a real need, but I myself cannot meet it, I will not be ashamed to beg for them and by all means try to help them.
My dear Jesus, I vow to do all this, but I beg of you, strengthen me in my weakness. I am the poorest instrument, unworthy and incapable of anything. But I beg of you, hold sway over me, and show how in your powerful hands the poorest instrument can do the most marvellous things. I do not rely on myself at all, but I have full trust in you. This sweet confidence enlivens me and gives me courage, instilling in me the hope to obtain everything from you.
Sustained by this sweet confidence I will dare, in case of real need, to face danger, knowing for certain that you take care of your handmaid and will not let her come to any harm.
Help me, good Jesus, for I do want to dedicate myself earnestly to your dear creatures, doing it all for love of you.
And while I shall be concerned with the good of others, I entrust the care of myself entirely to you. See to my needs yourself, attend to my necessities and assist me; be always by my side, uproot all vices from my heart, planting virtues instead; make me a saint, for I surrender myself totally to you; belonging wholly to you.
Most Holy Mary, I heartily recommend myself to you, teach me yourself how to love my neighbour.
Dear St. Aloysius, you who did so much for your neighbour, give me your noble, charitable heart.
I can do all things in Him who comforts me.
The challenges of our times which in their very contradictions hide a deep yearning for religiosity, together with the Church’s appeal to promote a spirituality of communion, induce us to live up to our charism by cultivating a timely dialogue of charity in our relations with those we meet and serve through the works of mercy in accordance with our apostolic project.
With this aim in mind, we draw on our womanly resources and on values of internationality and interculturality that characterize our Institute.
We live by this gift of communion first of all in our fraternal life as sisters who partake of the same founding charism and share spiritual and material goods, and as disciples of Jesus ever on our way together, sustained by merciful love for one another.
The increased internationality of the Institute is for us a source of richness impelling us to welcome and value cultural diversities and committing us to tackle calmly any limits or difficulties that dialogue involves.
Made capable, by grace, of reciprocity and communion among ourselves, we strive to carry on a dialogue of charity in our apostolic service: we do this by fostering a sense of universal brotherhood in Jesus the Redeemer, remaining in solidarity with the poor and going through a process of inculturation, without which we cannot be true neighbours today. This demands that we be discerning, willing to learn from what is different and to develop a readiness for collaboration in Church and in society, effecting an exchange of gifts that is typical of genuine service.
True to our identity as consecrated persons committed to follow Jesus the Redeemer, who for our sake took the “form of a servant” and wanted us all to be one in himself, we strive to promote a culture of solidarity and to foster a spirituality of communion in the ecclesial and human family, so that all may live as God’s children in the Father’s household