Scalabrinian Congregation

Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini 1839 to 1905a 
Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini

The Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo or Scalabrinian Missionaries (abbreviated: C.S.) are a Roman Catholic religious order of brothers and priests founded by Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, Bishop of Piacenza in Italy, in 1887.

The order was approved in principle by Pope Leo XIII in a Brief dated 25 November 1887 and its constitution definitively approved by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda on 3 October 1908.

Its mission is to "maintain Catholic faith and practice among Italian emigrants in the New World." Today, they and their sister organizations, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (founded by Scalabrini on 25 October 1895) and Secular Institute of the Scalabrinian Missionary Women (founded 25 July 1961) minister to migrants, refugees and displaced persons.

Giovanni Battista Scalabrini was born on July 8, 1839 in Fino, Mornasco, near the city of Como, Italy. Baptised on the same day he was born, he was the third of eight children born to Luigi Scalabrini, a modest wine merchant, and Colomba Trombetta.

All through his life Scalabrini was grateful to God for having given him a "saintly mother, a model Catholic woman and loved by all, especially by the poor." It was she who initiated him in the love of the Eucharist, of Jesus Crucified, of Our Blessed Lady and the saints, and in his charity toward the poor.

An excellent student, he succeeded in being first in his class every year Elementary School, Junior and High School. He would walk the six miles to Como every Monday and return home on Saturday in the company of his fellow students and the working people who used to listen to him explain the catechism and relate Bible stories. He used to share his lunch and little money his parents would give him with the poorer of his companions.

On Sundays he would get together with other boys and girls in his Aunt's courtyard and repeat the religion lessons he had learned in school.

When he was 18 he told his parents of the vocation which he had been nurturing for some time, he wanted to become a priest. The young man completed his philosophy and theology courses at the Seminary in Como. He was the only one of his class to get the highest marks each year.

Giovanni Battista Scalabrini was ordained a Priest in Como on May 30th, 1863.

Scalabrini's principal consideration was for the youth of the Parish. He opened the first Boy's Club in Como, and for the little children he opened the first Nursery School.

He was consecrated bishop by Cardinal Alessandro Franchi, the Prefect of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, who had know Scalabrini as an aspiring missionary. The ceremony took place on January 30, 1876, in Rome.

Immediately after his consecration the new Bishop Scalabrini hurried to the Tomb of St Peter to pledge his obedience to the Church and to dedicate himself to "become all things to all men so as to gain everyone for Christ".

He died on the 1st June 1905.

He was venerated on the 16th March 1987 by Pope John Paul II (degree of heroic virtues).

He was proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square in Rome on November 9, 1997.

The process for his beatification began in 1940.

On the 2nd Nov 1952 four Scalabrinian missionaries arrived in Australia from the United States to meet the challenge of the vigorous immigration program. The Scalabrinians are an order of missionary priests founded by Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrinin, whose apostolate is specifically to assist migrants.

1952 Scalabrini Priests  
1952 Pioneer Scalabrini Group
Br Nino Setti, Fr Dante Orsi, Fr Ignazio Militello, Fr Tarcisio Prevedello

Initially they were based at Haymarket until Fr. Joseph Molon, the provincial in 1975, implored Cardinal Freeman to allow two Scalabrinian Priests to begin pastoral work within the Liverpool district for a trial period of twelve months.

The history of their presence reflecting the development of the Italian Community in Australia. Initially they reached out to scattered communities of Italians from the cane and tobacco plantations in Queensland to the groups in Tasmania and New South Wales. Later they contributed to the formation of communities in the urban areas particularly in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Newcastle and Wollongong but also in smaller cities like Shepparton and Red Cliffs.

Just five years after the arrival of the first four Scalabrini Fathers it became clear that continued dependence on the United States-East Province order would not work in the conditions prevailing in Australia and in 1957 a "Missio Sui Iuris" under the patronage of St Frances Xavier Cabrini was established directly answerable to the orders headquarters in Rome.

In 1962 the mission was raised to the status of a Religious Province with its headquarters in Sydney. In more recent times the Scalabrinians have become involved with assistance to the ageing migrant communities particularly through the establishment of the Scalabrini Village Nursing Homes and Hostels.

In the late 20th century the order has extended its work to the Philippines and Taiwan as well as reaching out to several other migrant communities in Australia.

In February 1976 Fr. Francis Lovatin (Rip - On Saturday 12th Apr 2003 Father Francis Lovatin passed away six days after suffering a stroke) and Fr. Luciano Ferracin arrived to work with the local clergies in the Western Region – Punchbowl, Moorebank, Cabramatta, Mt Pritchard and Liverpool.

So began the dynamic contribution to multi-cultural harmony within the Parish of Mt Pritchard with a regular Sunday Mass in Italian beginning in 1977.

On the 1st June 2008, the Scalabrinian Fathers were given Pastoral Care of our parish, with Father Anthony Fregolent, CS, as our Parish Priest.

For more information please see the Scalabrini Website at:

www.scalabrini.asn.au