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13/11/2013 - RMG - Letter of Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio regarding Blessed Artemide Zatti

(ANS - Rome) - On 18 May 1986, Fr Cayetano Bruno,SDB  received a letter from Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio. The letter recounts the experience that the present Pope Francis had with Artemide Zatti, SDB (now Blessed) and shows how, through his ​​intercession, the Argentine Province of the Society of Jesus had a revival of Brother vocations.

“I am speaking of 1976 as my point of reference because it was then that I came to know of Bro. Zatti. That year our youngest Brother was 35, an infirmarian and four years later would die of a cerebral tumour. The second youngest was 46, and the third, 50. After that they were all elderly (many continuing to work splendidly even today, at 80 or more years of age). This “demographic picture” of our Brothers in the Argentine Province was making many think that we were dealing with an irreversible situation, and that there would be no further vocations. Indeed some were questioning the relevance today of the Brother vocation in the Society (of Jesus), because – given the facts – they seemed destined to extinction”  Thus writes Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the beginning of his letter.

The Jesuits, like the Salesians, regard the Brother vocation as one of the specific ways of living their common vocation. On this Fr Bergoglio commented: “the Father General, Fr Pedro Arrupe, SJ, insisted much on the need of the Brother vocation for the whole Society as a body. He said that the Society would not be the same Society without the Brothers.”

The letter goes on to tell how, on a visit to his Jesuit confreres in the Archdiocese of Salta in northern Argentina, he met Bishop Pérez who spoke to him about the life of Brother Zatti and invited him to read more about him. As a result, Fr Bergoglio decided to ask God, through the intercession of Brother Zatti, for an increase of Brother vocations.

He concluded the letter by reaffirming his conviction that the subsequent revival of vocations to the Brotherhood was due to the intercession of Brother Zatti.

The full text of the letter is available in the Service section of ANS.

Published 13/11/2013

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