25 years ago…

On 1 October 1995, Pope John Paul II raised Blessed Peter Casani and thirteen Piarist martyrs to the altars, witnesses of faith until giving their life for Jesus Christ. We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of this extraordinary date in the history of our Order, which was lived and celebrated with deep joy throughout the Piarist world. 

I believe that it is very good that we remember this happy anniversary, and do so in thanksgiving to God for the gift of the holiness of our Brothers. Let us remember their names: 

  • Pedro Casani of the Nativity of St. Mary the Virgin 
  • Dionisio Pamplona de San Barnabás 
  • Manuel Segura de la Virgen del Pilar 
  • David Carlos del Santísimo Sacramento 
  • Faustino Oteiza de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores 
  • Florentín Felipe de San Francisco de Borja 
  • Juan Agramunt de los Sagrados Corazones 
  • Enrique Canadell de los Sagrados Corazones 
  • Matías Cardona de San Agustín 
  • Ignacio Casanovas de San Ramón 
  • Carlos Navarro de la Virgen de los Desamparados 
  • Francisco Carceller de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes 
  • José Ferrer del Carmelo 
  • Alfredo Parte de la Virgen 

We want to remember also the Pope’s words in the homily of that solemn day, because they offer us a precious synthesis of what we are celebrating. 

“Brother, servant of God: Practice patience”. The Order of the Pious Schools today contemplates fourteen of its members in glory: Father Pietro Casani, first companion of St Joseph of Calasanz and thirteen martyrs of the religious persecution of 1936 in Spain. Pietro Casani, a natural of Lucca, joined Joseph Calasanz in 1614 to “educate Roman childhood in piety and letters”. Open to charity with neighbour and dedicated to the education of poor children, he repeated before his death: “Patience and prayer can do much.” 

Dionisio Pamplona and his fellow martyrs are not heroes of a human war, but educators of youth who, because of their status as religious and teachers, faced their tragic fate as a true witness of faith, giving us with their martyrdom the last lesson of their lives. May their example and intercession reach the whole calasance family! 

We do not write this letter to you simply to remind you of this ephemeris, but above all to invite you to live and celebrate it, renewing our vocation to holiness. It is true that holiness is essentially a gift from God, but it is also true that being holy is our horizon, our challenge, and our task. Piazza de’ Massimi, 4 – (S. Pantaleo). 00186 ROMA Tel. +39 06 6840741 • Fax +39 06 68308858 

It helps us to remember the proposal that Pope Francis made to us in his Message for the Calasanctian Jubilee Year. The Pope said to us: “Remember what you are and what you are called to be. I ask the Lord to grant you to live those provisions that made your Founder holy. In this way, the Pious Schools will be what Saint Calasanz wanted and what children and young people need.” 

The message is clear, dear brothers: if we want our Order to be what Calasanz wanted and what children and young people need, let us be holy! 

We propose that you celebrate this anniversary in each of the presences of the Order, either in community, or with students or educators. You will see the best way to do this, depending on the circumstances. As we celebrate, let us pray for one another, and ask the Lord to grant us the gift of holiness. 

For children to grow up in Piety and Letters, 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

For youth to know and follow Christ, 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

So that the Piarists may conform our lives according to the Gospel. , 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

So that we may bear witness to the Truth as its cooperators, 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

That we may preach Christ, and This crucified, 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

For us to walk under the protection of Mary, Queen of the Pious Schools, 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

For Piarist communities to be places of fraternal love, 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

For the People of God to grow in faith, hope, and love, 

Lord, give us holy Piarists. 

We ask you for the gift of holiness in the Pious Schools so that we may be effective instruments in the sanctification of souls according to our Piarist ministry. Help us to make our communities places of sanctification, to seek and fulfill God’s will. Help us to live our vocation in fullness and joy by being authentic disciples and witnesses of the Lord who is holy and wants us to be holy too. Love. 

In communion of prayers, receive a fraternal embrace. 

The General Congregation of the Pious Schools 

Rome, 1 October 2020