Hildebrand Gregori a Step Closer to Canonization

Cardinal Ruini Praises Untiring Apostle

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ROME, JULY 17, 2007 ( Zenit.org).- When Benedictines converted Europe, they did it through activity, unity and constant prayer, following the example of Jesus, wrote Abbot Hildebrand Gregori.



On July 3, the 15-year diocesan phase in the process of canonization for Abbot Gregori (1894-1985), founder of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ, was completed.

In an address at a ceremony marking the end of the process, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, said that Abbot Gregori, born in Poggio Ginolfo, Italy, "lived and actualized with rigorous fidelity and powerful sensibility the Benedictine charism of 'ora et labora.'"

He was a "contemplative monk and untiring apostle in responding to the needs of his time," Cardinal Ruini explained.

After World War II, the cardinal continued, "his heart was troubled by the sight of so many children who were orphans or abandoned because of the war."

"Before even having an idea about how to assist them, house them, give them instruction and a Christian and human formation; before even being able to think about where he could find the means for work of such dimensions, he began to welcome these children into the monastery," Cardinal Ruini continued.

Abbot Gregori prepared the "structures of assistance and instruments of education and formation absolutely ahead of his time," the 76-year-old cardinal explained.

The Holy Face

On Aug. 15, 1950, Abbot Gregory started the "Prayerful Sodality" which in December, 1977, became the Pontifical Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face, that today has 14 communities in Italy, one in Poland, one in Romania, two in India, and one in Congo.

Abbot Gregori directed his spiritual daughters to the "charism of reparation," understood as an act of love against the "sin of social injustice," in reference to the Holy Face of Christ.

Cardinal Ruini explained that according to Abbot Gregori, it is Christ "that must be recognized and seen in the poor and needy," and "the faces of Christ are also the faces of man, above all of the man who suffers materially, psychically, morally, and spiritually."