Father Darius: Father in spirit - Testimonials

Father Dário - Founder

Father Darius had a true father's heart and cared for all the needs of his daughters. He took care of the spirit and meditation before all. He loved them all without distinction of any kind and always had a word of encouragement and comfort. His warnings sounded more like recommendations. In our hearts there was not any bitterness, but only love. He always looked at us with a smile and thus he earned our trust.

He loved all his poor people. Even if they had done wrong, he welcomed them with kindness.

He celebrated the Mass with such passion that, hearing his words and watching his posture, I could feel my devotion increase too.
Sister Ignazia Simioni

In 1925, Father Darius contracted a paresis. The doctors advised him to go to Baveno, to heal in the thermal waters and he came to Varese. He would go to Baveno twice a week, accompanied by Sister Vincenza. I was lucky enough to accompany him a few times. On the boat we would meditate, he spoke about the inner life, spiritual things, and I was very happy. Once we went to the Holy Mount of Varese. He celebrated Mass at the beside the Virgin and we prayed for his recovery. We were happy.
Sister Fidelis Fumagalli

Among many other things, what struck me most was his love before my vicissitudes and anxieties. I did not even have to open my mouth to make him understand me. I noticed this, especially during my period of aspirant. One day he entered the school. We were three aspirants. He took our notebooks and in mine he wrote: "Go ahead with God and with Him forever." It seemed that he had understood my frame of mind.
Sister Gabriella Giussani
In 1920, a priest came to my parish and he spoke of a new order of sisters called "Daughters of St. Eusebius." My confessor, who already knew of my vocation, made me a sign, but we were both undecided, because little or nothing was known about the purpose of this religious order and also the demands for dowry, trousseau, etc ... that mattered, because of the conditions of my family.

My confessor wrote to Vercelli asking for information. Father Darius wrote in order to eliminate any doubt that he had: "I do not care about trousseau and dowry. Providence will take care of it and we will be supplied with everything, if your vocation is authentic it is enough. “So I joined the convent in Vercelli.
Sister Caterina Rivan

In 1920, after my religious vesting, I was kneeling, along with other novices, for blessings. The Father told us: "Dear children, we are extending the house, that’s why so much is asked of you." We were perplexed, not knowing what to say. I asked then: "Father, what should we do? We are poor, ignorant and we don’t have any qualification. “He replied: "My dear daughters, one need be neither master nor teacher, nor embroiderers for the house of God to blossom. For me, just common sense and the desire to be holy are enough. "
Sister Alfonsina Battarino
The day I joined the convent, on October 28, 1924, in the afternoon, the Master Sister introduced me to the Father. I cannot even describe how comforting it was the impression he caused, his fatherly heart and sweet smile, welcoming me with holy enthusiasm and telling me words of encouragement to follow with fidelity and perseverance God's call to his service.

During the second year of novitiate, one day I was alone cleaning the rooms of the poor and I was a little worried. Suddenly I saw the Father before me, who noticed my state of mind and asked the reason. He gave me words of encouragement, saying that anything that obscures the spirit is the work of the devil. He added: "Be happy and serve the Lord with joy." It was enough for me to restore tranquility in my soul.
Sister Olimpia Paleari
I remember my entrance into religious life, on January 20, 1923, when I first met Father Darius. It caused me a great impression. It seemed to me I was looking at a saint. He welcomed me with fatherly love, encouraged me with his cheerful disposition and his smile. He showed me the house. Also my relatives were enlightened by that holy priest.

Knowing that I was shy, every time we met, he encouraged me with his smile and his fatherly words, which gave my spirit great peace and tranquility.
Sister Raffaella Ratti

Whenever I met Father Darius, he would ask me: "Have you pray? Have you meditated? What purpose have you done? ". Then he would add: "Have faith and trust in God, because it is the only way to overcome difficulties." His words penetrated my heart like drops of spiritual balm and gave me great joy and serenity to persevere on my way.

Sister Speranza Fantinato

To his daughters, whom he wanted to be holy and perfect, Father Darius wrote kneeling the holy rules, which were the main path to holiness.
Sister Giorgina Martinello
Father Dario’s paternal kindness was engraved in my heart and whenever I speak of him to the sisters I still feel moved even after twenty years. The Father did not talk much, he would rather listen, but his words left an indelible mark in my soul.
I had done the vesting recently (September 14, 1924) and, out of necessity, the Father had to send me a replacement sister (Arcangela) to assist a patient in a family.

I was not in very good health and the Father was concerned. For three mornings in a row he waited for me at the door to see how I had spent the night.
On the second morning, Sister Giovanna called him to prepare for the Mass, but he kept waiting for me. When I arrived, Sister Giovanna was grumbling and saying it was not a case of wasting time with a novice. The Father simply distributed a smile to both of us.

I felt refreshed and excited. I understood I had found a true father.
In Varese, in 1927, it was the fourth time that I had broken the glass of the watch, among other things. I did not want to tell the Mother Superior, finding it easier to tell the Father, who was ailing at that time in our house. He, noticing my embarrassment, said in fatherly way: "If you're afraid I am too!" wanting, through it, to teach me to be simpler (a typical virtue of his). I went to the Superior and returned to the Father with this reply: "If you approve, I’ll leave the watch in a drawer and thus I will not break it anymore." He, however, with a familiar gesture, stroked my head, a mixture of caress and slap: "No, my daughter, you act like the one who hid the talent not to fumble."

Whenever I met him, he would always give a lesson and encouragement, so I cheered whenever I had the chance to speak with him.

I could tell a lot of events like this.
Sister Flavia Fantinato
In 1928, when I joined the convent, our Founding Father was ill. What impressed me the most was that, although he was sick and unable to stand, whenever he saw us, aspirants, he fatherly smiled and encouraged us. It was only eight days I had left home and was gaunt. I saw the Father by chance. He looked at me and, with his fatherly look, read my spirit and said: "Courage, daughter, now I will be your father and Sister Eusebia, your mother." To cheer me up he began to sing "Eleonora, goodbye!”, because this was my name.

When I was a novice in 1930, I was returning from Mass, and the Father was in bed. He called me to him, held me with his arm, saying, "You know, Eleanor, I also have Jesus in my heart." And cried with satisfaction because someone had taken Jesus to him.

He was so passionate about the Blessed Sacrament!
Sister Costanza de Conto
It would take long to tell our Founder’s unforgettable facts. His modesty and humility are undestructible. "I am a poor man who disrupts everything," he used to say, truly convinced.

What to say about his spirit of mortification? We never heard anything about his food preferences. How many times he returned from Turin, Biella and other cities at around three or four in the afternoon. "Dear Father, where have you been, couldn’t you find any cafeterias?" The Sister on duty would ask. He would answer, smiling: "They were all closed. Get me anything. “He was so helpful towards the others and not at all towards himself.

In the midst of trials, slander, misunderstandings and misconceptions he would always keep the peace and serenity in his great heart and his eyes glowed with candor and simplicity.

When he celebrated the Mass, he was so absorbed that he looked like an angel. He recited word by word, especially at the moment of consecration.

He had a gentle, happy and calm nature, but he was demanding and severe when it came to the observance of the Constitutions. He loved the silence and reclusion so much that, during the day, when we met him on the hallways with the priests who visited the house, he would ask to some sister: "Tell me this morning meditation. What did Jesus suggest to you? What did you promise to do? ".

Every day he would see his "dear bosses" as he called the disabled, and he rejoiced when he was in their midst. He would wipe their noses, mouths, faces and hands with his handkerchief, kissing the most neglected, and exclaimed, "Oh, my treasure! Oh!” If he were told that some Sister had been impatient, rude or angry with any of them! His physiognomy, always serene, would sadden. He called the sister in particular and would make her see with vigor and love the grace to serve Jesus who was alive in those poor people.

He knew how to instill charity in our young hearts! What huge self-sacrifice and austerity to himself and abundance to others!

What about the chapel and the celebrations? When there was some solemn party, he invited Monsignors and Canons of the Cathedral and he himself would serve Mass, as a simple altar boy. The garments should be the most beautiful, ones, made from pure silk and he said: "It is Jesus who sends Providence. Therefore, one should not calculate the cost to decorate his temple. “We inherited this love to worship God, the Virgin, St. Joseph, St. Eusebius and the other saints.

The venerable Founding Father had a special gift, a prophetic intuition. When new candidates arrived, he looked into their eyes, interrogated and watched them in the chapel, in ordinary work and then sentenced: "This will be a good Sister of St. Eusebius, that one doesn’t inspire me trust" and expressed his insights to the Master and Mother Eusebia. One day, in 1922, I remember like it was today, a new wing of the house was being built and we, aspirants, novices and students were helping to bring bricks and stones to the construction workers, and the Father, rather than Mother Eusebia, watched us smiling. Mother Eusebia commented: "We can expect a lot from those two candidates (Sister Alphonsa and Sister Camilla)" but the Father, in low voice, said: "The first, yes, the other, no." Not letting them know, I heard the phrase that kept it secretly and, as time went by, it happened just like the Father had predicted. This happened other times.

He wanted the best; he wanted the sisters to be up to their tasks, to their mission in each area and insisted that they study the official diplomas. However, as the work in the ward and others absorbed the staff, the counselors opposed these studies, but Father insisted that the future of the Congregation demanded this sacrifice.
The saying "better a live donkey than a dead doctor” was in vogue. "Why make them study for teachers? It is enough to have nurses, because this is our mission. “They said other things like that. The venerable Father was perseverant, gentle in his manners, affable and thus ended up convincing the most stubborn. He glimpsed the importance of having well-educated people.

One day, I was somewhat dismayed. I asked him to dismiss me of the studies, because I had heard quite a few sisters complain about the work overload with patients while the students did nothing, in their opinion. The Father, with humility and determination, said: "Go ahead and obey without giving attention to these conversations. Do this for Jesus and for me too and you are forbidden to continue the gossip. The main purpose of religious life is obedience. "
How many times I thanked the Lord for having had the grace to watch over, at night, in his long illness, the Holy Father Founder.
Sister Maria Proserpio


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