Monday, January 15, 2018
Blessed Luigi Variara was born in Viarigi (Asti), Italy, on 15 January 1875 and died on 1 February 1923 in Cucuta, Colombia. He was an apostle to the lepers in Colombia and founder of the congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who ran the homes he set up for lepers. He was born to Pietro Variara and Livia Bussa. When he was 12 years old he entered the Salesian Oratory in Turin, while the founder Don Bosco of the Salesian Congregation, was still alive. Luigi had the privilege of meeting this living saint on one occasion, and it was an encounter that changed his life. John Bosco looked into the eyes of the young boy, and this gaze was for Luigi a confirmation of his future Salesian vocation. John Bosco died a month later on 31 January 1888.
In 1891 he entered the novitiate and shortly afterward he made his profession in the hands of Bl. Michael Rua, Don Bosco's first successor. After his novitiate, Luigi did his study of philosophy at Valsalice and there he met Fr Michele Unia, the Salesian apostle of lepers of Colombia, who had come to speak to the community about his mission. His talk won Luigi over, and in 1894 he left for Colombia with Fr Unia when he returned. Here he dedicated himself to the lepers of Agua de Dios, sharing with them his passion for music and drama. Fr Unia died shortly thereafter, leaving Luigi and three other priests in charge of the leper colony. The three years before his priestly ordination in 1898 proved to be a time of spiritual growth and maturation for the young Luigi, who came to understand better the reality of sacrifice and self-giving in serving others, and in running the risk of contagion through continual contact with lepers. After his ordination, he exercised his duties as priest in the leper colony, and with responsibility for the parish, often spending four or five hours a day in the confessional. He also continued to teach music and drama, especially concerned for the moral health of the young people of Agua de Dios. From the first year of his priesthood, Luigi felt the need to open a leprosarium for young patients, a project that mirrored that of his predecessor, Fr Unia. The scope of such a foundation was to educate these children in the faith, to teach them how to read and write and skill in manual labour, so that they would be saved from a life of desolation and vice. In 1905 the "Michele Unia Youth Hostel" was opened. On 7 May 1905 he founded the Congregation of the "Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary", in order to provide care for the residents of the hostel. "Our goal", he stated, "along with that of our own personal sanctification, is to care for the leperosy patients in the hostel and in serving God by offering ourselves as victims of expiation". He also said of the year 1905: "Never as in this year did I feel so happy to be a Salesian and I bless the Lord for having sent me to this leper colony where I learned how to gain heaven". As the Congregation was also founded with the intention of offering to women lepers the possibility to consacrate their lives to God, Fr Variara's initiative was much criticized and misjudged by other religious institutes and even by some of his own brothers, who questioned whether this new Salesian "branch" was in accordance with the charism of their founder. He had founded a community of "outcasts" it seemed, in the eyes of the world. Luigi, however, held firmly to God's will, and began to climb the Calvary of not being understood or accepted by those who should have been closest to him. He received, however, the consolation and relief of knowing that he was acting out of obedience, since Fr Michael Rua, Don Bosco's first successor stood behind him and encouraged him to continue with the foundation. His greatest trial proved to be his transferral from Agua de Dios to Venezuela, a separation from his Congregation which cast a shadow of mystery on the foundation itself and began 18 years of misunderstandings for Luigi. He was trasferred from city to city after leaving Agua de Dios, and in 1921 he was definitvely moved to Táriba. He continued, however, to keep in contact with Mother Lozano, cofoundress of the Institute. He assured her that there was "nothing to fear: if it is a work of God, it will last". Luigi Variara died on 1 February 1923 in Cucuta
Monday, January 8, 2018
Before losing battle with cancer, this 27-year-old woman penned a heartbreaking, eye-opening letter
ByAlex Eriksen,Yahoo Lifestyle
“That’s the thing about life, it is fragile, precious,
unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right,” Holly Butcher wrote
in an emotional post on Facebook.
Butcher, 27, lost her battle with cancer this week. Her words are drawing
attention on social media, garnering more than 8,000 shares, 11,000 likes, and
Butcher, from Brisbane, Australia, covers a range of life
topics in her letter, including coming to grips with her mortality. She talks
about wanting to start a family, grow old, and enjoy life. “I want that so bad
it hurts,” she writes.
Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful
colours the sun makes as it rises.
Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.
Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.
Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?
Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.
Work to live, don’t live to work.
Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.
Eat the cake. Zero guilt.
Say no to things you really don’t want to do.
Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling
life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.
Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love
them with everything you have.
The core message of her post is to not worry about material things or dwell
on looks. “I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I
can do about it,” she wrote, “and all I wish for now is that I could have just
one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my
partner and dog. Just one more.”
That extends to all walks of life, says Butcher, whether it be how much money
you have in the bank or what kind of work you do. “I hear people complaining
about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise — Be grateful
you are physically able to,” she wrote. “Work and exercise may seem like such
trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.”
Butcher was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma,
an extremely rare form of cancer. The disease typically affects the leg bones
and pelvis. The incidence of a diagnosis is one out of a million cases in the U.S. each year.
Children diagnosed with the disease typically have a higher survival rate.
Those who are older, like Butcher, stand only about a 50% chance of a longer
In her parting lines, Butcher asks that anyone reading consider donating
blood. “If you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start
regularly donating blood,” she writes. “It will make you feel good with the
added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked
considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each
person can have and the process really is so simple.”
Friday, January 5, 2018
Do you want to learn how to love like the Bible teaches? Bible-based love, indeed any Bible-based relationships, can be attained if we understand what the Bible says about love. Loving someone rightly is difficult because selfish motives often seep into even our closest relationships.