“Siete seme di santità gettato a piene mani nei solchi della storia”
Papa Benedetto XVI sugli Istituti Secolari nel 60° Anniversario della Provida Mater.
The secular institute and its history.
The Institute of Missionaries of the Royal Priesthood of Christ “Has its origins in the city of Milan, for desire and with the help of Cardinal Ildefonso Schuster” (Decree of Praise).
Attentive to the most important needs of the diocese, he had urged since 1942 the birth of a “Pia Pro Pro Seminary Association”, in order to arouse, with prayers and offers, priestly vocations. Among some diocesan and parochial “secretaries” of this association, soon arose the desire to do more and to offer themselves completely for the promotion
of ecclesiastical vocations and the sanctification of the clergy.
On the feast of Pentecost of 1945, many young people, led by Ezia Fiorentino, diocesan president of the Women’s Youth of Catholic Action in Milan, assisted by Don Raineri Boga, welcomed the announcement of a great and beautiful mission that God wanted in His Church and to “follow more generously the examples of Christ the Priest, while remaining
in the world” (Decree of Praise) and on September 15, 1948 they consecrated themselves to the Lord with the vows profession.
In 1945 the Provida Mater had not yet been promulgated and officially recognized the Secular Institutes. The new Institute therefore was called a pious association and the first members pronounced their votes privately. They were called – with prophetic intuition – Missionaries of the King’s Priesthood of Christ, to indicate in the priesthood of Christ the ideal of every authentic priestly life, without foreseeing what developments this denomination would later have. On February 2, 1947, the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater was promulgated and the following year the Motu Proprio Primo Feliciter, an explicit invitation from Rome came: “We desire that a Secular Institute be established with a maximum program, according to the Provida Mater”.
On August 2, 1950, Cardinal Schuster himself formally erected it in a secular Institute of diocesan right. In 1957 the first perpetual vows were celebrated.
In January 1963 it was the presentation of the Statute renewed to Cardinal Montini, so that he would subject it to the definitive approval of the Holy See. On 25 April 1963, the
cardinal replied: “I read it with devoted interest, and I saw a profound religious spirit reflected in it. I am willing, for my part, to submit it to the Holy See for the final approval”.
1964 saw the apostolic action of the new Institute extend beyond the confines of the Milanese diocese. The following year the first Missionaries left to exercise their apostolic
activity among Italian miners in Belgium. And in the eighties the missionary service was extended to the peoples of the third world in Latin America and Africa.
Meanwhile, the Council revealed, in its documents, all the theological riches of the title of which the Institute had been awarded. The royal priesthood of Christ is not only the ontological foundation of ministerial service and the model of life for priests, but, being objectively participated “according to the condition proper to each” (Constitutions, 5) to every
baptized person, it becomes also a charism characterizing it. , in particular for a typically secular apostolic commitment.
The new in-depth theological reflection on the inspiring idea of the Institute found an echo in the edition of the Constitutions of 1970, whose approval coincided with the granting by the Congregation for Religious and for the Secular Institutes of the Decree of Praise on August 6 1969, Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the eve of the first International Convention of Secular Institutes.
The Decree of Praise says: “In accordance with the purposes of the aforesaid Institute, members must achieve sanctification in such a way as to bring to full effect in themselves what the Prince of the Apostles indicates with these words:” (…) royal priesthood, holy people “(1st letter of Peter 2: 9)».
Furthermore, by cultivating a spirit of generous service and “prompt obedience to the Pastors, especially the Roman Pontiff” (VC 46), they propose to promote priestly vocations and to make the Magisterium of the Church known.
On 25 April 1988 Ezia Fiorentino, who founded the Institute and for 43 years has directed it with wisdom and love, leaves the Presidency, but she remains in the heart of the Missionaries.
On 12 May 1996 His Holiness John Paul II in Rome in Piazza S. Pietro beatifies the cofounder of the Institute, Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster. The Institute is in party.
In 2007, the Institute, by gift of the Spirit, has taken new roots in Kinshasa, Africa, realizing the great desire of the Foundress to go past the borders of Italy.
On March 20, 2009, the Lord calls to himself in eternal bliss, the Foundress. A deep emotion fills the Missionaries. Illuminated by faith, they always thank the Lord for what he has given them.