Rev. Bob Masciocchi, CSS [9/14/1927- +4/10/2017]
Fr. Bob’s first anniversary Mass was ‘a joy’ to all!

The chapel of the Espousal Center was nearly filled by friends, which is always heartening.

Fr. White was the chief celebrant, assisted by Fr. Anthony Corigliano and Fr. Hawker (diocesan). Fr. Byrnes came over but stayed in a pew.

Fr. White ‘opened’ by saying how important he felt it was to him to be present since he’d been recuperating from surgery at the time of Fr Bob’s funeral Mass & thus been unable to be here for that.

Next Fr White said we would hear ‘remarks’.

First up was Dennis Taylor – always eloquent, pithy, from the heart & laced with dry humor.

Susan Crowley followed – sweet, sincere & brief.

Fr. White then spoke saying how glad he was to have started with these remarks because the remarks certainly ‘set the tone’ that would be permeating the Mass.

After the Mass we repaired to the auditorium for refreshments and fellowship… and what a joy to catch up with so many people that I either see ‘only in passing’ or, worse, nowadays I rarely see.

The Superior Provincial, Fr. Robert White, CSS, presiding Fr. Bob Masciocchi’s First Anniversary Mass, concelebrated by Fr. Anthony Corigliano, CSS [at his right hand-side] and Fr. Hawker [at his left hand-side]


The just-elected government of the Stigmatine Congregation

This is the new Government of the Stigmatines, for the next 6 years:

Superior General:
Fr. RUBENS SODRÉ MIRANDA (Province of St. Joseph, Brazil)

Vicar General:
Fr. CLAUDIO MONTOLLI (Province of the Sacred Heart, Italy)

Second General Councilor:
Fr. NELTON PEZZINI (Province of the Holy Cross, Brazil)

Third General Councilor:
Fr. DAVID AUGUSTUS KALYOSI (Vice-Province of the Holy Redeemer – South Africa)

May the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, and St. Gaspar Bertoni, intercede for all of them for a fruitful government!

And we give thanks to the Government that just finished its 6-years term: Fr. Mauricio Baldessari (Superior General), Fr. Bruno Facciotti (Vicar General), Frs. Tadeu Lima and Abel Maglines (Councillors).


Pope Francis addressed the Stigmatine Fathers, during the Stigmatine General Chapter in Rome (Feb. 1st-15th).

The report below is a copy of the matter by Hannah Brockhaus, for the Catholic News Agency (CNA):

Pray for each other, Pope Francis tells Stigmatine Fathers

Pope Francis on Jan.6, 2018. Credit: Daniel_Ibanez (CNA)

“The life of community, the life of fraternity, is difficult because there are human problems, jealousies, competitiveness, misunderstandings… Fraternity is a grace, and if there is no prayer, this grace does not come,” the Pope said Feb. 10.

You might say that you pray the Divine Office or meditate on the Gospel, but “do you pray for this brother, for the other… for the Superior?”

The sin is not to argue, Francis continued, pointing out that even in good marriages there are fights. The sin comes in the “rancor, the resentment that you keep in your heart, having quarreled.”

Pope Francis spoke to about 40 participants in the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ, commonly called “Stigmatine Fathers.” The Pope opted to speak off-the-cuff, so copies of his prepared speech were instead handed out to participants after the audience.

Besides fraternity, Francis also spoke about the “terrorism” of gossip, which he said is like throwing a bomb to destroy another from afar.

To have a good community doesn’t mean everyone has to be close friends, but you must have respect and esteem for one another, and you must pray for one another, he said, inviting those present to make an examination of conscience on this issue.

He also spoke about the wounds of Christ, especially the stigmata, which is found in the name of their order. As St. Bernard said, if you are depressed or if you have sinned, done this or that, “Go and take refuge in the wounds of the Lord,” the Pope said.

“Only the conscience of a ‘wounded’ Church, of a ‘wounded’ Congregation, of a ‘wounded’ soul or heart leads us to knock on the door of mercy in the wounds of the Lord.”

He encouraged them not to be ashamed of their devotion to the wounds of Christ, because it is their path to sanctification, and they are called to teach anyone “plagued” by their sins to find comfort there.

“A ‘wounded’ sinner finds forgiveness, peace and consolation only in the wounds of the Lord, not elsewhere,” he said.

In his prepared speech, Pope Francis invited the Stigmatine Fathers to revive both within themselves and their community the “fire of the Word of God.”

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus announces: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” the Pope said. “Imitating the divine Master, you too are called to bring fire into the world.”

He noted that there is a good, holy kind of fire and a wrong kind, however. The wrong kind he said is that illustrated in the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, but sends messengers before him to a village of Samaritans, who did not want to welcome him.

The disciples, James and John, said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” But in answer to this, Jesus rebukes them. “This is the wrong fire,” the Pope said. “God in the Bible is likened to fire, but it is a fire of love…”

He encouraged them to announce the Gospel with meekness and joy like the founder of the Stigmatine Fathers, St. Gaspare Bertoni. “This is the style of evangelization of Jesus, our Master. He welcomed and approached everyone and conquered people with kindness, mercy, with the penetrating word of Truth,” he said.

“So you missionary disciples, who are evangelizers, can bring people to conversion, to communion with Christ, through the joy of your life and with meekness.”


On Sep. 14, 2017, Bro. Antonio Lopez professed his Perpetual Vows to the Stigmatine Congregation in the Chapel of the Retreat House and Conference Center, in Waltham, MA, in the presence of the Superior Provincial of the Province of the Holy Spouses, Rev. Robert White, CSS.

Follow some photos of this event:


[L-R] Mrs. Ruthie George-Vandewater, Bro. Antonio Lopez and Mrs. Page Vandewater
Bro. Antonio Lopez with the Superior Provincial Rev. Robert White, CSS


There took place at the Brazilian Stigmatine Retrseat House & Conference Center, in Corumbatai, SP, Brazil, on September 8 – 10, 2017, the annual retreat of the Stigmatine Laity of the Province of the Holy Cross. The theme of the retreat was: ‘300 Years of Devotion to Our Lady of Aparecida’. That was a time of deep spirituality, sharing and learning to the Stigmatine Laity who seek, each day, to deep themselves in the knowledge of the Stigmatine charism, as well as to live the Bertonian spirituality, and like St. Gaspar Bertoni to reflect on Mary, who with her maternity, love and charity always intercede for all her children.

There attended the retreat 85 lay Stigmatines, from the Bertonian Family (‘FABER’) cores, like: Campinas, Itararé, Marília, Praia Grande, São Caetano do Sul, Ribeirão Preto and the newer core, the one of the district of Mooca in São Paulo City.

There was presented a beautiful and joyful Night of the Nations, with each core of the FABER representing a country where the Stigmatines are present. That was a moment of much joy, sharing and confraternization among the cores.

The preacher was Fr. José Odail Pertile, CSS (Formator at the Seminary of Philosophy [‘Chácara do Vovô’], in Campinas, SP, and also the seminarians Igor Leandro and Rodrigo Alves, students of Philosophy. The preachers added so much on the knowledge of the life of Mary, showing us that, to be truly lay Stigmatines, we have, like Mary, to give our ‘YES’, and to assume our proposal of life following St. Gaspar Bertoni.

The closing Mass was highlighted with the admission of 37 new lay Stigmatines, among them 5 as aspirants, 11 as postulants and 20 make their promises, compromising themselves to:

  • dedicate their lives according to the teaching of St. Gaspar Bertoni;
  • be faithful disciples of Christ in the Church, serving in the Kingdom of God, especially in favor of the youth, vocations, missions, priests, married couples and marginalised;
  • live deeplly and be testimony of the Bertonian spirit, and to collaborate with their local Church.

May the Holy Spouses Mary and Joseph, and St. Gaspar Bertoni, help and lead them!

Kelci Ribeiro Ferreira dos Santos
Stigmatine Laity – Provincial Secretary


Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060

August 8, 2017
Commemoration of St. Dominic

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

This month is highlighted by the Solemnity of the Blessed Mother in her Assumption into heaven. The “style’ of this month ’s letter to our group, is to serve as a reminder for us all to pray for one another through St. Gaspar Bertoni’s intercession, that we might all one day join Mary now assumed into heaven. May this Solemnity serve as a reminder for all of us to add as an intention of our prayer for one another, that we might all live in an ever more intense hope of our own being called home to heaven in God’s own time.

With the long and spectacular Pontificate of Pope St. John Paul IInd, many still think of his actual living out of his  Pontifical Motto,  Totus Tuus – “all Thine” O Lord. He truly poured himself out into his service of the Church unstintingly, and totally – and provided us all with an example. As we know from the Vatican II Document, Lumen Gentium, there is a universal call of the whole Church to holiness. As the great Dominican theologian, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP wrote in his Christian Perfection and Contemplation,  that the Sacrament of Baptism when properly developed and unhindered, has within its effects that of sublime holiness is the vocation of all the Baptized.  St. Gaspar helps us with this ideal – let us ponder his teaching from his own Spiritual Diary, called the Memoriale Privato in Italian:

… Only God knows what He would accomplish within us if He were not impeded by us…

14th FEBRUARY 1809

[106.]       … This came from the interior security she [St. Teresa of Avila] had in following God’s will. She strongly believed that there is nothing that could hamper God from realizing what He has established.

Her only fear was that she would not correspond duly to the graces of God.

This is a principle that aims at its being reproduced in each one’s life. But who is this personality about whom Fr. Bertoni writes?  We believe it is a person of the caliber of St Teresa of Avila. The traits are very probably hers. Here are some texts from her Life:

… I happened sometimes to feel tormented by most serious tribulations, having become the object of detraction on the part of this city and of my own Order. Many more afflictions of a different nature gave me further cause for anxiety. In those circumstances, I could hear the Lord telling me: “What do you fear? Don’t you know that I can do anything? What I have promised, I’ll accomplish? (it had always been so, in fact!)”. I then would muster up courage and become ready to embark upon any new work whatsoever. I would face, for the service of God, even greater torments and suffering, though it was very heavy for me. This experience happened so many times that I cannot remember.”  [1]

“Oh, what a joy to have to suffer in doing God’s will!”[2]

“The only ambition we can have (and God does not allow any other), must be that we serve His Divine Majesty at any cost.  In my Foundations, I never did anything, as little as it could be, which would have seemed to disagree with God’s will.” [3]

“Whatever we do for Him, is always too little.”[4]

“Blessed be God, because if we do not fail Him, he will never fail us first.’[5]

“Oh, what a misfortune to live in this life! It is like having always our enemies at the door. We cannot leave our arms even for eating and sleeping. We are continuously fearing that somebody, somewhere, should attack and storm our stronghold! … Pray, my dear daughters, that his Majesty should always live in me. Otherwise, after having spent my life in such a miserable way, I would not know how to give myself comfort.” [6]

“It is clear that a person must never rely on oneself. One should never expose oneself to temptation. Even if one had received many graces of Prayer. We can always fall. Be very careful! I beseech you for God’s sake.’ [7]

29th JULY 1809

[144.]       God does not turn down any of those who want to militate under the banners of His Son, and who avail themselves of the means He has prescribed: namely prayer and mortification. Indeed, such a person will have a glorious triumph.

This is a point from St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. The Meditations of The Kingdom of Christ and The Two Standards have the same conclusion, i.e. the voluntary enrolment in the army of the Lord. However it is necessary to accept the conditions, i.e. to follow Christ in poverty, in self – abnegation, in humility and to take up His weapons which are prayer and mortification. Victory and triumph will follow. We take some passages from the Meditations, which Fr. Gaspar gave the Seminarians in 1811:

… We know where God called us from, but we do not know where will He lead us to.  We cannot imagine what would God do of us,  who are the apple of His eye,  if we did not raise obstacles to His grace, but would instead surrender ourselves always and totally to His hands! …  When we abandon ourselves to Him and follow Him faithfully and steadily and, in all humility, do not take the lead before Him…the Lord adds His share…  [8]

18th MAY 1811

[168.]       Undertake the spiritual journey by the narrow way and by Penance.

The text is inspired by the verse in Matthew 7:14: Narrow is the road that leads to life.   It could have been an inner voice, or taken for such by Fr. Bertoni who wanted to register it on paper and make it into a personal resolution. It could otherwise have been a generous resolution developed by himself which became a decision of his conscience in imitation of the Saints. What we are sure of is that he took it very seriously. So seriously that his biographers gave the blame to the severe miliary fever, which devastated him in 1812 and put the rest of his life [+June 12, 1853] in jeopardy, due also to his excessive work. He had not spared himself in the ministry and in the acts of penance: fasting and mortification to gain self-control. Furthermore, he was convinced that in order to correspond to the graces God gave him and to follow the mission he felt he was invested with, he could do nothing less than that. For many, especially in later life, this hope is challenged by chronic poor health.

[169.]       I shall forget your sins, and I shall show you how many things you have to bear in my name.

It sounds like part of a dialogue between the Lord and his Servant.  God calls Fr. Bertoni to the undertakings of His glory.  Fr. Bertoni, (we suppose), objected like St. Peter after the first miraculous catch of fish:  Depart from me, Lord, because I am a sinner (Luke 5:8). The Lord replied: I shall forget your sins… (Is 43:25) or I shall never again recall their transgressions (Heb 10:17). He repeats what he had said to St. Paul: I shall show him how many things it is necessary that he should bear for my name. (Ac 10:16). Similar words have been directed to several Founders of Religious Orders. Fr. Bertoni will address these – and in Latin! – to Leopoldina Naudet on 14 Dec 1812. He will even add, jokingly as Saints can do: Take courage! This is the best share which God keeps in store for His beloved ones: … it is not a mouth-full for all!

[170.]       Very few are the people who have the perception of what God would do of them if He was not hindered by them in His plans.

It is the great Ignatian principle which became one of the corner-stones of Fr. Bertoni’s spirituality. Here it is presented in the form in which Fr. Mariani, S.J. reported it. It is worthwhile to quote here the original form as we have it in Bartoli’s book:

… Very few are those who have the perception of what would God do with them if they would put themselves totally into His hands and let His grace work in them. One would never believe that a rough and shapeless trunk of a tree could become a statue which will be admired as a miracle of wood-carving. That trunk, if it depended on itself, would never let itself be cut by the chisels of a wood cutter. Only the wood cutter, as St. Augustine said, can foresee with his artistic eye what could come out of the trunk.  Similarly, there are many people who think they can just live as ordinary Christians. They have no perception that they could become saints if they just let themselves be fashioned by the grace of God and, by making resistance to God’s work, would not spoil the design that God should like to realize in them…[9]

It is clear that the principle written by Fr. Bertoni is a summary of all this.  In a Meditation in Primum Regum to the Seminarians, he used it several times and made a moving application of it. We have noticed it already on 29 July 1809 but did not explain it:

We cannot imagine what would God do of us, who are the apple of His eye, if we could not raise obstacles to His Grace, but would instead surrender ourselves always and totally to His hands

For that expression:   apple of His eye Fr. Bertoni quoted Zc 2:8: For he that touches you  (i.e. my priests) touches the apple of My eye …

Let us pray for the intercession of St. Gaspar – and of Mary herself already assumed into heaven – that we might all persevere in our hope in God’s healing Mercy, that we might join them for all eternity celebrating the eternal Thanksgiving in the heavenly sanctuary!

Fr. Joseph Henchey CSS

Acting Spiritual Director


Mary: from Kenosis to Glory – by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS



[1] St. Teresa of Avila, Life…  o.c., Ed. Rome 1949, c. 26, n. 2.

[2] Id.  Interior Castle,   Fifth Mansions, c. 2, n. 14.

[3] Id.,  Foundations,   c. 27, nn. 14, 15.

[4] Id.,  Path of Perfection,   c. 12, n. 1.

[5] Id., Letters,   Venice 1739. Letter 38, to Alfonzo Ramirez.

[6] Ic., Interior Castle,   Third Mansions, nn. 2-3.

[7] Id., Life… , o.c.,  c. 19, n. 13.

[8] St. Gaspar Bertoni’s Conferences on St. Gregory Exposition on Primum Regum – Meditation 16 a [## 5457-5508] – 1 Reg3:9-14; Meditation 16 b [## 5509-5554] – 1 Reg 3:15-21.

[9] Bartoli, o.c., Book 4, n. 36 margin.


Mundelein Seminary
1000 East Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060

July 3, 2017
St. Thomas, Apostle

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

“… But Thomas (who was called the Twin) one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him: “We have seen the Lord!’ But, he said to them: ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails, and my hand in his side, I will not believe!’

… A week later, His disciples were again in the house… Jesus came and stood among them and said: ‘Peace…!’ Then He said to Thomas: “Put your finger here and see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side Do not doubt but believe .”  Thomas answered: ‘My Lord and my God!’…Jesus answered him: ‘…Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!’… [Jn 20: 24-29].

Earlier, these Apostolic men did not believe the eye-witness account that St. Mary Magdalene had seen the risen Lord – but her testimony was not believed! Once the Church leaders had been converted to Integral Paschal faith and hope, in their turn, St. Thomas would not believe them! May we today think of him on his feast day that he was the first one converted by the stigmata!  Could we not want to be numbered among those followers of the Risen Lord – being on-going converted to an ever deeper, Faith Hope and Love yearning for healing in the Sacred Stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ [cf. Is 53:5; 1 P 2:24]?

There is no doubt that still in today’s world, human suffering is so rampant.  And with the marvels of modern medicine, many of us are living longer lives than perhaps many if not most of our loved ones who have gone before us. We cannot help but hear again these words of Scripture: “… Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if we are strong… they pass quickly…!” [Ps 90:10].

In our faith, we believe that there is a two-fold content, a two-fold “object” of Divine Revelation: God Himself, and His Plan.  All that happens in life in some way fits into this plan – even the hairs of our head are counted! [Lk 12:7] – no matter how many [or few!] of these may there be.

There are four or five general “reasons” offered to us by divine revelation to help us understand human suffering:

  • punishment for sin;
  • pedagogy: suffering is the ‘school of God’;
  • purification: like silver and gold we are being purified;
  • redemption: in some way, human suffering enters into the Plan of Salvation [ this is explained beautifully by  Pope St. John Paul II, in his Exhortation Salvifici Doloris [Salvific Suffering];
  • Eschatology: we do not have here a lasting home.

Our beloved Founder suffered very much in his nearly 76 years of life. The reflection this month of July is on a biblical reflection on suffering and some thoughts from Fr. Cornelio Fabro, CSS on these many years in the founder’s life – that contributed to, and shaped his entire spirituality. May God grant that we might all receive such a grace!

Sincerely yours in our Merciful High Priest,

Fr. Joseph Henchey CSS
Acting Spiritual Director


Appendix I:

The Mystery of Human Suffering – by Rev. Joseph Henchey, CSS [2017]