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The Works of Mercy Through Parish Youth Work in Italy

Religious of Christian Instruction

The charism proper to Religious of Christian Instruction is that of consecrating ourselves to God and sacrificing ourselves entirely to young people wherever we can cooperate in spreading the glory of God. Youth does not refer directly to age, but to any category of people in need of instruction.

The integral education of youth is the mission of our Institute and through this work we accomplish the works of mercy, both corporal and spiritual.

Today’s world has a greater need for people who are upright in their human values and aware of their responsibilities. In other words, formation should focus more on the inner dimension of man, capable of respecting human dignity. Today’s young people need to be intellectually literate if they are to meet the needs of their time and seize the opportunities that present themselves. However, as we all know, knowledge without conscience is nothing but ruin, as Francois Rabelais said in 1553. So many other people can offer young people intellectual training. Based on our charism, being a gift of the Spirit, our specific aim is to offer an integral formation that takes into account all the dimensions of young people: intellectual, spiritual and human, and aims to give them access to the richness of the faith.

Youth in Italy

The urgent need to focus on the needs of young people is evident throughout the world. Today’s young people have a greater need for guidance in their future lives. Fired with the need to know, to experience, to touch, to taste the beauty and goodness of life, they turn to adults to learn alongside them.

According to the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mk 6:30-34…. Jesus had pity on the crowd, for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he taught them at length today: Are we adults really reliable points of reference for this youth, overcome by an inner strength, ready to receive what we offer them?

Young people already form the Church of today and tomorrow. The Church shines with their ardour and is adorned by the services they render.

To help this love of the Church grow within them, the Church passes on to them the faith and love of God.

Our presence here in Italy, in collaboration with Spazio Spadoni, is a favourable moment to deepen the experience of mercy among young people.

We are living pastoral experiences with the Santa Gemme parish communities through various organised activities


“Giving access to the faith” is the core of the charism of the Religious of Christian Instruction. Through the catechetical activities in which we participate with the groups of catechists here in Italy, we live to deepen and grow the knowledge of God in the persons of the children preparing for the various sacraments.

Family catechesis

Our family is, and should be, the little Church where we experience the faith. For human growth, we also need spiritual nourishment, and the family is the foundation and root of this. Although society also has its share of influence on us, the family has a great role to play and we are all witnesses today to the consequences of family irresponsibility on the lives of children, even if this is not the case for everyone.

Family catechesis has been a speciality for us and a great discovery. As well as the spiritual dimension, there’s also the social and family relationship that develops between the children and the parents who accompany them. The children learn to get out of the confines of their family to meet an unknown family. The joy with which the other family receives them brings them joy: it’s a real moment of prayer, sharing and joy.

The Word of God is read by the children themselves, and in their innocence and simplicity they manage to find the links between the Word and their daily lives. It’s wonderful.

Oral activity with pupils

This is a good place for the children to experience the importance of teamwork. They are well motivated to work. It’s a time when they learn to get out of themselves too, while at the same time acquiring patience with those who are slow to understand. The work is reciprocal: on the one hand, there is the person explaining and who is invited to approach the other to listen, understand and explain to the other, and on the other hand, the person who has to open up and express their difficulties in order to be helped.  In addition to intellectual knowledge, there is also a need to pass on human and spiritual values to both pupils and teachers. The human right to dignity and belief inspires more fear and distance, and we choose laissez-faire and silence instead of daring.

The work we are still doing is gradually integrating prayer into this activity. Through this activity, which seems so simple, automatic but full of delicacy, both for the pupils and for the supervisors, we are making the work of mercy both spiritual and corporal.

Creative oratory activities

Children, accompanied by their parents, develop their potential through various activities: colouring, cutting out, drawing, etc. Through these activities, parents get together and get to know each other as well as the children. The children project their hidden lives, their emotions and their feelings through the works they produce, and the team of supervisors are at their service for guidance.

It’s a time for children to forge links with other people by taking a break from their phones, which have become almost like their daily companions.

Listening centre

We all need to be listened to and understood. To find out what other people need, we listen. Needs are not only material or spiritual, but also emotional. This dimension is often missing because we so often think about the material dimension.

From this activity, we are in the process of understanding that people have a greater need to find in the person of those they meet an emotional energy to heal their wounds.

Here, we take part in listening to people migrating like the people in the middle. They receive food, and feel welcomed. These goods also come from the generosity of people who allow themselves to be shaped by the word of God, giving freely of their possessions to help others.

The solidarity table

This takes place every Sunday at Segromigno Monte. After preparing food, we go to the town of Lucca to distribute it to those in need.

From now on, Jesus transforms himself by taking on the face of the sick, the hungry, the naked, the foreigner, the prisoner… We believe that Jesus is present in those we serve and to whom we give food.

Our experiences here in Italy with the works of mercy have also made us discover the dimension of gratuitousness and voluntary work. There are many people who devote themselves to the service of their brothers and sisters without expecting anything in return. “you have received freely, give freely”.

God’s mercy at work

Sister Francine Mave Ditsove

Sisters of Christian Instruction


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