By Mª Pilar Linde FI
Each year, when April 2 comes around, we remember and celebrate “The Rosarillo”. We remember well the image of the altarpiece and can almost repeat from memory the story of what happened almost 150 years ago, on that day and at that place, “the place of response and of faith”, the day we were born in the heart of Mother Candida, because God wanted it so. Can one say something new about that original experience? And especially, can we find something new in “the Rosarillo”?
On April 2, 1869, Good Friday, Juana Josefa prays at the altar of the Holy Family. I confess sincerely that the combination of space-time of the “inspiration of the Rosarillo” has always disconcerted me and raised some questions in me: It does not seem very logical to pray on Good Friday before a representation of the Holy Family, a mystery of the life of Jesus proper to Christmas: Why pray on that day, too, before the altar at which she frequently prayed? What attraction could it have had for Juana Josefa, on the other hand so devoted to the Passion of Our Lord? What did those images evoke in her? What did she find, because we already know what she sought?
We must return to the Rosarillo and contemplate the altarpiece of the Holy Family: All eyes in the whole sculpture watch Jesus who, small -a child- and with a cross in his hand, becomes the central figure and, in turn, looks at who is about to pray before Him. In Jesus converge the two lines that give consistency and meaning to the altarpiece: in the vertical line Jesus is integrated into the mystery of Trinitrian communion and love, the Trinity that, looking at the world and its inhabitants says, “Let us redeem mankind”; in the horizontal line Jesus is rooted in the earth, in the history of that Humanity, forming part of a people, a family, “becoming an ordinary man”. Jesus: Word and proclamation of the Father, trust, docility to the Spirit, incarnation, mission, redemption. Jesus, in the center, in his double dimension -divine and human- is always Son.
Here are answered the questions about and the meaning of the Holy Family, the inspiration, especially comes from him. There crystallizes a process and starts a new path, there the whisper of a call that has been growing from childhood becomes a definitive voice: “to found a Congregation with the title of Daughters of Jesus, dedicated to the salvation of souls … “.
And so the Daughter of Jesus is called to “strive to love Jesus, God made man for love of us, with all her being, seeking to resemble Him in all things, as a son resembles his father, and to follow in His footsteps even to the cross…” (CFI 136). On April 2, we must contemplate the altarpiece of the Holy Family again to learn to be Daughters, looking at the Son, letting Him look at them.
By Silvina Pagura FI
The altar of Rosarillo and its relationship to the spiritual experience of Mother Candida has always struck me.
I asked again and again …
What had the contemplative gaze of Mother Candida known to capture in that image? What is that altar able to embody so that Mother Candida felt subdued by it to the point of referring to it as the moment of Congregational inspiration? … Again and again I have contemplated this image with those questions inside me and that is what I want to share with you today from my humble gaze.
First I am caught by the image of the family that it transmits:
* So broad (grandparents, parents, child, Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
* So human and divine (the Trinity and its entire family on this earth)
* So dysfunctional and atypical for the time (we know the problems that the annunciation brought, Joseph’s desire of abandonment and rejection, and we can imagine the reaction of Anne and Joachim toward their daughter)
* So inclusive (the heavenly and the earthly coalesce, the human and the divine)
* And in the midst of it all so focused on the essentials (the center of the scene is Mary and Joseph with the child, and the Father and the Holy Spirit accompanying each from their place)
All this, which can remain a mere image, I found such a prophetic sign of our charism in the Church and a clear call to bring our spirituality to reality today.
In addition I can not forget each time that I see it, that that year April 2nd was in Lent, privileged time of preparation for Easter, sacred time …
All this gives a backdrop, a different composition of place that puts me in a special way before this image so beloved in itself for each one of us who share this charism.
Above, presiding all, crowning everything and guiding everything is the name of Jesus. I like to think that this experience was already within the heart of Mother Candida, and seeing it embodied on the altar, she identified with it. “The name of Jesus our spouse, our father and our everything” as it says in one of her letters. And that is our charismatic experience, He is our all, we identify with Him, “as a daughter resembles her father” and it is He who encourages me every morning to follow, He who illuminates my path and inspires my journey. That was what it was about, for Candida Maria, and that is what it is still about for us.
And that child with his cross, as a prophetic sign of things to come, but above all as an indelible mark of what “a Daughter of Jesus without suffering cannot be” because “a daughter should resemble her Father.”
There are many details that I do not try to lay out in this article, but roughly did want to list to become aware of that April 2nd that saw us born in the life of the Spirit as a gift to the Church.
In my heart many feelings arise when I remember it, but mostly I am filled with gratitude:
* First by the docile heart of Candida Maria who allowed herself to be led by the Spirit, to the point of capturing familiarity with God and the whole world in that small family of Nazareth; and thus try to live this note so characteristic of our charism: Familiarity with God, family spirit and simplicity that distinguishes us as DAUGHTERS wherever we are.
* Second, I am also thankful for the profound gaze of faith that enveloped her, because where she could have seen only failure (the cross, pregnancy of dubious origin, and a few angels trying to crown the scene with the divine) she was able to see a profound call from God who is FATHER, who does not abandon – but on the contrary – summons and gathers others (Anne and Joachim) to make us feel that we do not go through life alone, but that He himself is present in the most unexpected and loving ways as a Father in His creativity can show (or is that not perhaps the presence of grandparents in our lives?) This image of the Holy Family with grandparents included has always struck me, since it is not common to have them.
* Finally, to finish, I want to express my gratitude also to this humble woman who in her ignorance bequeathed to us her charism as a gift to the Church. There are times in life when only the capacity to throw ourselves with passion into what we feel with certainty, brings us back to the dimension of making the impossible possible. And that bravery and courage of Candida Maria is what made it possible that today we could be talking about her charism as a gift to the Church.
And therefore it is also a call to fling ourselves into the impossible, to that which may seem insignificant to us, because in it may be nesting the Spirit in an unexpected way and … Who are we to block him from coming out? Well then, courage! We are called to continue recreating that first creative act, to continue allowing the first inspiration to germinate. Let us dare to try in this time of change, no matter how it goes, there are no formulas, what is important is to dispose ourselves and allow ourselves to be led, confident that He will be showing the way.