Mother Elisabetta and Education
Elisabetta Renzi felt, from a young age, an ardent desire of giving, that ever grew in her, so that she accepted, with great abandonment to the will of God, the difficult burden of the direction of the Conservatory of Coriano, of Rmini, in order to give the supreme proof of love that she had for the education and sanctification of girls.
Elisabetta, endowed with an enlightened spirit and far-seeing institution, began her work, following the path of Maddalena di Canossa; she showed herself to be unyielding in acing many difficulties that sprang up often carrying out her ideals, because she was convinced that they were caused by the devil, who “seeks to destroy every good work that tends to the glory of God and of the salvation of souls”; therefore she never surrendered, looking to the good that she could still do, foreseeing the urgent needs that would arise in the future, because of which “she took fire with her work and with desire for what would be best.”
Education was given primarily, but not exclusively to the poorer classes, to give value to the dignity and nobility that comes from being children of God; in accepting the girls she gave precedence to those who were poorer, preferring those who demonstrated a greater capacity to assimilate the human and Christina education that she offered. Because of her great zeal, she was very concerned for the spiritual love of the girls; she wanted them to be well-instructed in the catechism, and encouraged them to be generous with God, to have a right intention in their work, and a courageous constancy in the good.
Elisabetta was convinced that, in order to guarantee the student a wise and secure education, the teachers had to have a deep spiritual formation, inasmuch as it is necessary to be formed in virtue to be able to generate virtue. Therefore she stimulated the sisters to an intense life of union with the Lord and of generous sacrifice, taught them to seek continually the glory of God, the salvation of souls, and constancy in the work begun, urging them to hope always in God, for the devil is very clever, but he is not strong.” (Positio XVI a, p.508.) “The great battles are always won on the knees before God: Let us pray!” she taught them by word and example.
Elisabetta did not want the sisters in the school to rely on improvisation, which is always dangerous, ad sought to give them a professional training, so that, if teachers are “ambassador for Christ,” in the expression of St. John Baptist de la Salle, they are obligated to provide competent service, which is also desirable today so that the Catholic schools can keep their identity alive.
Faithful to the Divine mandate, we pledge ourselves to carry to carry out the educative in a family atmosphere, always with an attitude of cordial and serene self-giving, of generous and humble service, of respect of the dignity and freedom of students. The Divine Master teaches us to be ever diligent, sensitive, firm and maternal with everyone, without ever yielding to any kind of compromise.
Constitutions of the Congregation