The Secular Institute Missionaries Cristo Speranza is a Secular Institute of pontifical right established by the Holy See with a Decree of praise in 1953. Since then, faithful to the initial intuition, its members, the Missionaries of Cristo Speranza (hereinafter Missionaries ), have continued to live their consecration in the world, walking together with men and women of all times to seek with them evangelical responses to the challenges of everyday life.
The spirituality of hope that is based on Christ, the redeemer and savior of every man, animates the Missionaries and teaches them to look at the world with sympathy and Christian optimism through:
- consecration, experienced as a free and responsible choice to follow Christ
- the secularity that makes the mystery of Christ’s incarnation current in the events of the world
- the “mission” to be witnesses of the Risen Christ, Hope of men, among those who suffer
God’s grace and faithfulness support each Missionary in her commitment to live like Christ according to the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience.
to love and welcome every man with a free and disinterested heart
to put the needs of the least first
to seek and realize what pleases God in the various situations of life
Prayer helps each Missionary to cultivate dialogue with Christ by continually seeking the right balance between action and contemplation.
The Institute is present in different parts of the world and since its inception it has spread to Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia
The birth and history of the Secular Missionary Institute Cristo Speranza are intertwined with the life of its founder, Germana Sommaruga.
She was born in Cagliari on 25 May 1914. During her university studies “she met” San Camillo de Lellis, she was fascinated by him and decided to follow his spirituality. She graduated from the Catholic University of Milan, discussing a thesis on the work of St. Camillus in assisting the sick; over the years she became a scholar and expert, to the point of publishing several biographies of the saint.
She had the “first idea” of the Institute on 6 January 1936, when secular institutes did not yet exist and she was a postulant with the Daughters of St. Camillus. In those moments he wrote: “A sudden idea, not yet clear, but quite precise:…to remain in the world, to give life to a movement of consecrated lay people who, in the world, would assist the sick in the spirit of St. Camillus, who would penetrate into every environment, even the most miserable, and prepare the way for the priest, for Christ”.
Fr. Angelo Carazzo, a Camillian, helps Germana to realize her idea and to found the Secular Institute of the Missionaries of the Sick Cristo Speranza.
Germana died in Capriate (BG) in a retirement home on 4 October 1995 and in Verona on 5 November 2010, with an edict from Bishop Zenti, the process for her beatification opened.
Germana Sommaruga with Cardinal Pironio and Marcello Candia
The spirituality of the Cristo Speranza Missionaries of the Sick Institute and its “mission” are shared with the Associates of the Institute, namely the “Cristo Speranza” Collaborators and the “Cristo Speranza” Family Communities.
- the “Cristo Speranza” Collaborators are single/celibate or married women and men who make themselves available to bear witness to Christian hope to those who suffer, thus living the specific mission of mercy and evangelical proclamation of the Institute. The “Cristo Speranza” collaborators are a rather recent reality and are present in Italy and Argentina.
- the “Christ Hope” Family Communities, united by the sacrament of marriage and enriched by the experience of family life, also live in the spirit of the “mission” towards those who suffer, they seek to discover and enhance the Christian sense of the suffering and anguish of those that they encounter on a daily basis.