The International Scholasticate Community, headed by Fr. Felix Mabvuto Phiri, SMM and his assistant Fr. Frederick Scragg, SMM, was very happy to welcome with heartfelt enthusiasm and love, Fr. Luigi Gritti, SMM, assistant to the Superior General.
Fr. Luigi stayed in the community for ten days, from November 29 till December 08, 2013. His taking part in moments of companionship in the various activities we have in the community, was very meaningful and inspiring to the whole community. And this in spite of the busy revision week of the Scholastics in preparing for Hekima College exams.
During a community meeting that lasted a full morning, Fr. Luigi shared with us the mandate of the 2011 General Chapter, which urges each entity to draw a policy for protecting and safeguarding vulnerable people and helped us reflect on the theme “protecting the vulnerable” in an African context. During the meeting we had group discussions and sharing on some cases of child abuse, a widespread problem even in many African countries. We also looked at the relevance of this important subject for us as religious and how can we all be involved with the church and the society for the protection of the most vulnerable.
During the time Fr. Luigi was with us, each individual scholastic had the privilege to meet him for a personal encounter. It really helped us all to cherish our uniqueness and differences as we walk together in unity and love within the context of internationality in our Congregation.
As a tradition in the community, one evening after dinner we celebrated the birthday of one of our brothers together with the anticipation of Fr. Luigi’s own birthday. It was a simple yet enriching celebration full of enjoyment and blessings.
Fr. Luigi’s farewell speech was very touching and insightful. He quoted a verse of the song entitled “Love is the Answer”, which the community sung for his birthday and as a gratitude for his visit. The catching words of the song, ‘love and truth’ articulate the way we should relate with one another in the community. Our openness to fraternal love in truth and understanding will help us value our uniqueness and the richness our cultural differences bring.
He also reminded us about the Montfortian tradition which we can learn and embrace through the presence of Fr. Fred in our community. He challenged us to take advantage in a positive way of the wisdom and Montfortian heritage which are imbued in Fr. Fred’s life as a Montfortian religious missionary.
At the end Fr Luigi thanked Fr. Felix for accepting the role and responsibility of being the Superior of the International Scholasticate in Nairobi.
Indeed, to have Fr. Luigi with us was an encouraging and inspiring experience.