Mission and charisma
Our Congregation of Sisters Pious Workers of the Immaculate Conception was born on December 8, 1744 in Ascoli Piceno from the ardent love of the Founder Fr Francesco Antonio Marcucci for the Immaculate Conception. It is of Pontifical right since December 6, 1777.
Our charism is to be a continuous and concrete witness of Mary Immaculate, a way and model of sanctification, committing ourselves to becoming a living image of her.
The vocation of Pia Operaia places us in the heart of the Church and places us entirely at the service of her mission. Faithful to the commitments that the Founder has transmitted to us we are evangelizers of children, young people and their families, through the Catholic educational work that we carry out in schools, catechesis and in various social realities. We pay particular attention to the woman of our time. Faithful to the desire of the Founder, we cultivate love for study and culture as a means for an effective apostolate.
Docile to the voice of the Spirit, we want to live, through the profession of evangelical counsels and community life, a Marian spirituality founded on the entrustment to Mary Immaculate, Mother, Advocate, disciple of Christ and sister in faith, imitating her virtues.
In obedience to the desire of the Founder, we cultivate a spirit of family and fraternity; from him we welcome the exhortation to live the “punctual and prompt obedience”, serenity and joy in the service of God, humility, simplicity and love for all creatures with a “joyful and cheerful spirit” “In doing” the prayer with joy, the service of God with joy and all the commitments with happy courage “(From the Constitutions).
The Marcuccian pedagogy in the changing school
The vision of the person and its implications
Sister M. Paola Giobbi
The Marcuccian Pedagogy refers to the educational principles of the venerable Francesco Antonio Marcucci (1717-1798) who saw education, especially of women, as the key to social renewal.
He concretized his vision with the opening of the first female school of the Institute and the city, in the parent house of Ascoli Piceno, Saturday, March 6, 1745: he called it a pious school because it aimed for an integral education of girls who also embraced the religious aspect and opened it to the nobles and the common people in two separate sections as required by the times.
Thanks to the original strength of the charism and the generous dedication of the sisters who have lived it, that school has expanded, has opened its doors to students of both sexes and various social and cultural extractions; it has spread to other Italian locations and overseas, Brazil, the Philippines and Madagascar, thanks to the collaboration of many lay people, who work daily with the sisters and fulfill the task and educational mission initiated by the Founder.
A school that has more than 270 years of history certainly rests on solid principles, on the social recognition of the educational success obtained and on the appreciation of the educational experience witnessed by many former students and their families.
In a social context of accelerated changes that create uncertainty and disorientation, we aim to learn and revisit the educational principles, styles, practices and characteristics of the training environments of the Marcuccian schools and we want to ask ourselves if and how they can continue to drive the teachers and educators who work there today, in a school called to mediate the pedagogical lines dictated by the state systems of the countries in which they operate with the principles of their own identity as added and qualifying value.
The person in the image and likeness of God
At the basis of the continuity between the early school and the schools of today, there is the Christian vision of the person, created in the image and likeness of God. The person comes from God and tends towards him; its destination is the sky. “Look at the sky – the Founder wrote to Sister M. Petronilla – he desires heaven; while counting the stars, invite them to praise God. In fact, the stars are the symbols of the Blessed in heaven and of the Righteous on earth. Be a star too, so that it can shine with the stars “.
The end of the Marcuccian school: to accompany the person towards the fullness of his own humanity so that he may bring his own fruit for the good of all
The primary aim of the school is to accompany the students’ growth path towards happiness, helping them to mature their talents and their originality, because as good plants they bring abundant fruits, according to their own species.
This educational accompaniment constitutes for Marcucci the highest form of charity and most pleasing to God, in fact he promised that “he will shine eternally in Heaven, as a shining star in the Firmament, anyone with true Charity and Zeal will practice in this most noble Holy Job ( Dan. 12.3) “. Consider the pupils’ gems and ornament of the school.
“You are all the ornamentation and gems of this minimal congregation of mine: it is the duty of those who have the honor of being the first Servant, to make sure that this ornament is translated into Heaven at the time, and that such gems are inlaid in ‘Empireo. To this tend the instructions, the doctrines, the dividing books, the pious schools, the divisions exercises, and all the holy education”.
The educator teacher is called to exercise his noble employment “of good will, with much zeal and charity considering the pupils how to hold Plants, sent to them by God, through their diligent care always grow green and thriving of Christian Virtues, and then produce excellent fruit in every season “. And, “if the soil is good and well cultivated, the fruiting shrubs will also put fruit on the tender plants”.
Hold the lighted lamp in your hand: work for the benefit of others
“The Lord wants us, that we hold lighted lamps in our hands, to enlighten with our good life, and with the fulfillment of the obligations of our state, all those who walk in the night or be blindness of ignorance and of a vicious life. It is not enough for us to have Lucerne, but it is better to have turned it on. Moreover, it is not enough for us to keep the lighted lamp on the Lucerniere, but we must keep it in our hands. And why? Because God does not want us an idle life, a rested, jubilant, well-rested life, and remittance. Do not you? But he wants us, who turn with the lamp lit in his hand, that is to say, we labor to tenor de ‘gifts, of the forces, of the state, which he has given us “.
Educate with a kind hand
Education requires a lot of care and delicacy, like those who cultivate to keep plants; a different approach risks failure:
“Keep plants to cultivate them with a gentle, patient and pleasant hand. The rough hands break them, and they lose time in vain. The spirit of the Constitutions is founded on sweet charity. Those who think differently do not grasp the point. Convenene be a girl sometimes with the girls to win them over to God, and make them cheerful and docile “(Letter 144).
Educate by adapting to the character and ability of everyone
Educating for the Venerable Marcucci is not to indoctrinate, it is rather to know how to adapt to the capacities and the character of each one, as God does for every creature: “not to leave them in the imperfect, which they have, but to come to them leading to virtue, and to Christian perfection “.
“In instructing the Maidens there is always the warning to adapt with all charity to their capacity, dividing them into more Classes, so in regard to the Christian Doctrine, than to the manual Works.
Partiality is never used with truth, except with those who need it most. All are therefore treated with the same maternal and caring kindness to the honor of Mary Immaculate in the good teaching them so in the Christian Divine Life and in the Doctrines, in the Works and in the civil clean talk, and in good creatures, by taking away from them any rudeness “.
To adapt to the abilities of each one, we must look at the educating with love, tune in, try and try again the most suitable approach until the beautiful, the good and the true that it possesses does not emerge. The venerable Marcucci has not left us a systematic writing on education , but has been concerned throughout his life to find the best ways to educate anyone.
“Those who teach, count a thousand roads, give a thousand incentives, use a thousand terms, think a thousand ways, and with a clear and affluent and varied communication fits, spurs, awakenings, repeat; and use every way, that even the stones, so to speak, receive the impression “(Letter 21).
Support the toil of educating with the hope of the farmer who sows in the fields.
“The Educator Fanciulle is like a seminar in the Campi by force of sweat and tears. But then at the time of the harvest, oh how it reaps with a festive exultant joyfulness … Such is, my good daughter, the series of labors, and of the fruit of good education. Trust therefore in God, and give courage “(Letter 144).
Educating like a sculptor who chisels a work of art
“A beautiful statue of a saint can not be done with four strokes; it takes many, and replicated, until the last perfection. This is what happens with our Spirit, who, in order to put it to the point of perfection, takes the blows and the years. The same one of our Intellect, who is instructed to study, fatigue, and time to instruct him. All things in this way become perfect. God by His mercy helps us, and Our Immaculate Lady assists us; but he wants us to help ourselves, to struggle, to enable ourselves, by doing little by little the best way we can, and without ever losing hope or courage “(Letter 183).
In small steps to reach the top
One gets better with exercise and patience.
“By disputing one learns from others who are more saint than us” (Letter 32). “With exercise everything becomes better and succeeds” (Letter 50).
Persistence itself is required for permanent teacher education.
“The study if not followed, from time to time, is lost. Since the end is to qualify for the help of the Prossimi, therefore this end is lost, when the continuation of the study is left out. So you will do well to continue it and take it back from time to time “(Letter 148).
Top tip: even if you understand little at the beginning, that little will serve to understand more.
“I want to agree, that one hundred things [that you read] you will understand only one: but this is earned, since before you did not know: be satisfied and be quiet. It may be that the one thing that happens will open the way for you to understand another: and this is no small gain … the Greatness of man is measured more by facts than by words “(Letter 219).
He advises not to force the intellect and to apply in moderation.
“Warn not to force the Intellect, or the Will, with violent acts: but walk with holy simplicity, doing with peace from your song what you can” (Lett. 83). Apply (vi) in moderation, considering, that with the going slowly, one never gets tired, and always makes a continuous journey “(Letter 88).
Educate the mind, the heart and the will
The integral formation of the person, of all its dimensions, that the Italian school is trying to recover, is an ancient need also valued by the venerable Marcucci.
“What will it cost me to investigate, if I do not bring my investigations back to the practice and education of customs? I will be like a cymbal sounding and caressing the ears. What will it be like to know and deal with marvelous subjects of Agriculture if they never sow, never cry, never reap fruit? Therefore, it is a good study to teach others and oneself, to establish sanctimoniously the habits of one’s own and others and to direct them to eternal life “. (Letter 184).
We know how important it is to create a peaceful atmosphere at school, in the family, in the various workplaces so that everyone feels welcomed and loved. The Venerable Marcucci does everything to create and maintain this climate, to show affection, empathy and make his closeness felt.
“If you write to me with your fingers trembling because of the serious illness you suffered, my daughter; I read your Letter carefully with tears in my eyes for the joy of my heart because of your health. So we thank together our Lady Mother of God, conceived without stain, because she has freed you from death and wanted to preserve me from great sadness of the heart. Therefore try to feel good; be cheerful “(Lett. 271).
“If I open my window, I see your Saint Mark, who is on my left, and there I raise my hand, and I bless my daughters, who live under it. Be happy “(Lett. 19).
It constantly invites you to be happy and keep the others happy too.
“Be happy; enjoy yourselves; trust; and leave the care of you to [Mary] so thoughtful Mother. Greet all of me. Dear Jesus, bless you “. “Be happy; and be it your care to make everyone ‘read all “. “Be happy and courageous and beware of melancholy, like a plague”.
It is welcome that the students are in the country
“I rejoice, My daughter, that you, with all the others, enjoy excellent health in the countryside. I bless you, and be happy; for with all gladness all useless human apprehensions pass, which do not lead us to eternal salvation. […] To the Daughters in time of vacation a little ‘School, a little more than sound, a lot of innocent fun. Thus they are healthier and happier “(Letter 223).
He knows how to be humorous
“In Paradise we will not pay more Doctors. Here it takes patience: it is necessary to use them, and sometimes pay those who send us sooner to the other life. You laugh. What do you want? A cheerful mood does not tend to sell melancholy “(Letter 125).
In a letter, after listing everything he sends, he concludes:
“Do you want more? Wait for the other trip of Caucci, if God will like it, and you will have it, and it will cheer the whole Community.
What will it be?
Whatever will be, will be:
The gift will be known “(Lett. 343).
Use diminutives and fondling affectionate with the teachers who call Caterinuccia, Giusstinuccia, Franceschina, Teresina, Colombina, Minuccia, Maddalenuccia and send personalized gifts (Letter 158, see Letter 326). The tone of the letters is often joking, witty; can easily change the register; can use effective images to transmit contents and indications.
The gaze on Mary Immaculate
The venerable Francesco Antonio Marcucci has consecrated all his life and his work to Mary Immaculate. She is the model of those who want to realize the image and likeness of God imprinted in all men by the love of the Creator. The fullness of grace given to Mary with a prior gift is available to every creature who, with humble, courageous and constant commitment, learns to desire it and to welcome it. “Who truly loves the Immaculate, still loves the most holy life of you – writes the venerable Marcucci – and commits himself to imitating his beautiful virtues to the possible, especially the purity of heart and the modesty of the body which are the most proper virtues of devotees of Mary “.
Realizing the image and likeness of God, that is, the full maturity of the human being, is possible if we want it. It is a goal that is achieved through a path of freedom and daily choices that is expressed in the patient educational work of every day.
Mary Immaculate is not only the model of full humanity, but is the mother, the advocate, the treasurer and mediator of grace.
Jesus opened his treasures of grace to humanity through Mary, writes the venerable Marcucci. Who is his devotee, is blessed because he can expect every good . And paraphrasing St. Bernard repeats: “God wanted us to have every grace through Mary”. This conviction is expressed in the portrait that he left us with the index indicating Mary.
We have seen that for the Venerable Marcucci the educational work is the highest expression of love, the most noble and beautiful work. The love for every single person will allow us to find the way to achieve positive change in those entrusted to us. And this is the real victory. In fact, it is not a matter of filling heads with notions, but rather of educating oneself to be happy people helping everyone and everyone to patiently and perseveringly realize their own abilities and their originality, aware that the educational work requires a healthy synergy between teacher and pupil, between school and family. The venerable Marcucci urges everyone towards this path of human fullness. “Convien that we strive with His help to produce that good Fruit, which He requires of us” (Letter 422).
I am aware that I have only proposed some ideas from the rich repertoire of writings of the venerable Francesco Antonio Marcucci, chosen as aphorisms, not exhaustive of his educational proposal, but I hope they will be of help in the daily work we do. To the experience, reflection and sensitivity of each one, the ability to allow ourselves to be inspired and guided by them, recalling that trusting trust in God and the Immaculate are the perennial source of help for the educator and the educator.