Read an introductory letter on Venerable Bruno Lanteri from our Rector Major Emeritus, Fr. Patrice Veraquin, OMV.
I’m glad to have this opportunity to say a few words on the Founder of our Congregation. Fr. Lanteri was one of the most active priests in northern Italy in the Eighteenth century. He preached retreats and wrote and edited books. He spent hours and hours in the confessional and visited the poor and the sick. In the midst of all this, he always remained a man of deep contemplation and study. What was the source of such a priestly life?
When the young Bruno arrived, at the age of eighteen, in the city of Turin, with the desire to become a priest, he found himself in difficult spiritual surroundings. The entire ecclesial life was permeated with Jansenism, a theological vision that presented God as a severe and intransigent judge. Bruno suffered a lot from that kind of religiosity until he experienced, under the guidance of Father Diessbach (an extraordinarily good spiritual father), the infinite Mercy of God. That was for Lanteri a true liberation of spirit and heart! That became the center of his mission. For the whole of his life he would announce, in every manner and to everybody, the infinite Mercy of the Father manifested in Jesus Christ. He did it in his preaching and his writings, but in a particular way in the sacrament of Reconciliation and in spiritual direction. He would never let a person go if not comforted in hope and confidence in God.
Wherever I travel throughout the Congregation (we are present in nine different countries of very different cultures), I see my Oblate confreres being very sensitive to that fundamental aspect of Fr. Lanteri’s message. In our parishes or sanctuaries, in the writings of the Oblates or in their personal encounter with people, one phrase constantly resounds: “God loves you!” May this word continue to give peace, hope and meaning to all the people who will come in contact with Fr. Lanteri and with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
Fr. Patrice Veraquin, O.M.V.
Rector Major Emeritus, Oblates of the Virgin Mary