segunda-feira, 29 de novembro de 2021

Father Gino, Apostle of Our Lady of Fatima


 Father Gino, Apostle of Our Lady of Fatima

Father Gino, Apostle of
Our Lady of Fatima

Continued from previous issue

On May 8, 1983, before a congregation of 25,000 people, Brother Gino was ordained to the priesthood. Our readers should note in the following articles Father Gino is referred to as Brother. We did not have time to change the type set for these articles. We are certain that our readers join with The Fatima Crusader in extending our prayerful best wishes to Father Gino on this sacred occasion.

We continue here the biography of Father Gino Burresi, O.M.V., which started in Issue 9-10 of The Fatima Crusader. Father Gino’s Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima at San Vittorino near Rome, Italy, has become internationally well known and people from all over the world come to visit Father Gino and come to his Shrine as a place of prayer and pilgrimage. Many people feel they have received special graces through Our Lady’s intercession there. Father Gino has attracted many young people to San Vittorino to live the life of consecrated religious. These young people, mostly from the United States and Canada, have accepted the call to follow Christ and His Blessed Mother together with Father Gino and the Oblates.

In 1955, he was sent by his superiors to the community of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary attached to the parish church of St. Helena’s in Rome. There he was given the duty of care of the church and cleaning the house. There the people of Rome began to know of his goodness and they brought him things for the poor people whom he helped.

In 1957, the Rector Major (Superior General) called Brother Gino to be near him in the house of the General Curia, which is next to the Mamertine prison in the heart of Rome. The Mamertine prison, which is presently in the care of the Oblates, is where two thousand years ago Saints Peter and Paul were instrumental in converting 47 fellow prisoners to the Faith. This happened about a day before Saints Peter and Paul were taken to their places of martyrdom. They had no water in the prison to baptize the converts with, but a miraculous spring came up out of the floor of the prison at the Saints’ prayer, and they used this water to baptize the converts. To this day, this spring of water is still there.

Over this prison is built a church dedicated to Saint Joseph the Worker. As Brother Gino’s reputation for holiness spread, more and more people came to ask graces through the intercession of the “Madonnina” (the little Madonna). They prayed the Rosary before his little statue of the Madonna of Fatima. The superiors at the Mamertine allowed the little statue to be exposed over a side altar in the church of Saint Joseph.

The Pious Congregation

The numbers of the faithful who were gathering to pray the Rosary at the Mamertine kept increasing, and many went there every day and thus became friends. They wanted to unite in an organization to work more effectively with Brother Gino to make known the devotion to the Madonna of Fatima and Her message. Brother Gino saw how the movement was growing and so he decided to seek approval from the ecclesiastical authority (The Vicariate of Rome) to canonically found the “Pious Congregation of Our Lady of Fatima” for the conversion of sinners.

With the help of Monsignor Crovella, who worked at the Vatican, a rule governing the association was proposed. There was a careful examination of the actions of the faithful in this new group.

The Statutes were officially approved by the Cardinal Vicar of the Holy Father, Cardinal Micara, on Feb. 28, 1958. Thus, through the initial instrumentality of the sacramental of the little Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the movement grew and won official Church approval. In fact, Pope Pius XII, himself greatly devoted to Our Lady of Fatima, met in audience with Brother Gino and personally blessed the little statue and his work in the Fatima apostolate. At present, only the spiritual aspect of the association remains. They are prayer groups which bring groups of pilgrims to the Sanctuary of San Vittorino. The use that Heaven made of the small statue of Our Lady of Fatima is indeed a lesson in the importance of sacramentals, which are holy things or actions of which the Church makes use to obtain spiritual and temporal favors from God. Unlike Sacraments, the power of sacramentals does not come from the objects themselves, but from the Roman Catholic Church’s prayers of intercession.

The Sanctuary at San Vittorino

One day in 1958 or thereabouts, Brother Gino went out to the edge of Rome, to a small village named San Vittorino. He went there to visit a man named Angelo Colista, who was sick. The doctors at the hospital in Rome realized there was nothing that could be done to save his life and they told his relatives to take him home to San Vittorino. Signor Colista relates: “My case moved the town with pity. I had small children, and my death would have left my family in great difficulties.

“Somebody told one of my relatives: ‘Why don’t you call Brother Gino? He is a religious brother. He lives in Rome and helps poor people. They say he is working miracles.’

“My parents ran to the parish priest. They begged him to go to Brother Gino. The day after, Brother Gino came to see me. As soon as I saw him I said, ‘I don’t ask to be cured. I am ready to remain an invalid forever, to suffer, but I wish to see my children grow and be able to be their advisor.’

“We prayed together. Brother Gino told me before he left, ‘Be confident. Your wishes will be fulfilled’.”

Signor Colista adds: “I am not completely cured. But I am still alive, just as I asked. Brother Gino and I became friends. He came to see me often. His visits left such a peace in my soul.

“On one Sunday afternoon, (December 8, 1960, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception), after speaking to me, he went for a walk with my son and the other lads. When they reached that part of the town where there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Rock, Brother Gino said, ‘Let us pray the Rosary.’

“They began to pray. All of a sudden an extraordinary thing happened; he had begun to speak alone …” Brother Gino was oblivious to his immediate surroundings.

Brother Gino came to understand at this time, that Our Lady wanted a church to be built on that spot, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. Many people would come to this shrine of Our Lady of Fatima to be converted. He understood that he would have to undergo many sufferings, but that Our Lady would always be near him to help him.

In January 1961 Brother Gino brought a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the parish church in San Vittorino, and right away the people of the town began to share his enthusiasm for the new sanctuary. In the field chosen for the new church, a little shrine was built, and on May 13, 1961 a small statue of Our Lady of Fatima was placed there.

In 1964 a little crypt church was built there, which is now at the base of a large sanctuary. It is common in Europe to have a smaller crypt church at the base of a larger construction, and this is also the case at the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal, Canada. In the smaller church at San Vittorino is a Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which came from Fatima, Portugal. An American who visited San Vittorino recounts that in 1972 this statue shed tears. The tears were taken to Rome and analyzed and were found to be human tears. It seems according to that same American, that Brother Gino asked Our Lady why She was crying, and Brother Gino understood that She was sad because the work of the Sanctuary was going too slowly. That was in 1972 but now the sanctuary is nearly completed.

Not long after Brother Gino had understood that Our Lady of Fatima wanted him to build a shrine at San Vittorino in Her honor, the following incident took place, as related by a friend of Brother Gino:

“It was around this time that Brother Gino one day wanted to go to San Vittorino, to see a man about the deed for buying this particular land where the church was to be built. And a friend of his had an old Fiat car. And Brother Gino asked him to take him to San Vittorino in it. And his friend said, ‘Well, I’m sorry, Brother, but I don’t have any gas in the car. It’s completely run out. It’s bone dry. And I don’t have any money, and I know you don’t either.’ And they got into the car, and Brother Gino asked for the keys, and he blessed the keys. And he told the man now to try to start the car. Well, it started, and they drove twenty miles to San Vittorino, and then about twenty miles back to the center of Rome where the Mammertine prison is, where Brother Gino lived. Brother Gino thanked the man for the ride.”


Brother Gino Speaks On The Message Of Fatima

Brother Gino Speaks On The Message Of Fatima

(Continued from Issue 9-10)

We continue below, the article which begins in Issue Number 9-10, which gives some practical ideas on how to live the message of Fatima today, as explained by Brother Gino Burresi, O.M.V., an Oblate Brother ordained deacon in 1979, who has built a shrine in honor of Our Lady of Fatima in San Vittorino, Italy. Brother Gino’s knowledge and understanding of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, and his gift for teaching, have enabled many young people to understand the message that Our Lady of Fatima has for them as individuals, and to answer Our Blessed Mother’s call in their own lives. Since 1971, over 200 young men, a majority from the U.S.A., have come to San Vittorino with the intention of becoming Oblate Priests and Religious. Thirty have since been ordained priests and deacons. Eight are professed Brothers. One hundred and thirty others are in various stages of philosophy and theology. About seventy women have joined the Oblate Sisters of the Virgin Mary of Fatima — a group founded by Brother Gino in 1979.

We give in this article in some detail, words of Brother Gino himself, on living the message of Fatima, as he has explained in various writings, conferences, talks and interviews. We are publishing this article with the hope that through it, more people will come to have a better understanding of how to put into practice in their own lives what Our Blessed Mother asks of us at Fatima.

Not Following The Fashions Of The World

In his booklet in which he exhorts us to live the Fatima Message, Brother Gino asks men to mortify their eyes and tells women that indecent styles of dress are the cause of the spiritual ruin of many of their brothers.

“Our eyes act like a road-sweeper. They pick up, they store up, everything into us. From this, desires and evil thoughts originate, and we fall into the rottenness of sin.”

Christian modesty presents a challenge to today’s young people, to dress like children of God and not follow the fashions of the world. Brother Gino explains: “It is a penance to mortify the eyes. Another penance is to refuse to follow the current fashions. In 1917, the Virgin said: ‘Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much.’

“Our sister, Maria Goretti, and other Saints, in order not to make a show of what is not to be shown, have delivered their bodies to their executioners’ knives. Our Lord Jesus Christ has said: ‘But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe unto the world because of scandals!’ (Matt. 18:6-7). May the Holy Virgin make us understand and love the virtue of penance.”

Some women who visit San Vittorino object to being told by Brother Gino about modesty in dress. On one occasion, when a woman approached him scantily dressed, he said to her. “Have you ever eaten an apple?” “Oh yes, Brother Gino, I have eaten many apples.” “I’m surprised. Eve ate only one apple, and she had the sense to put on some clothes. You have eaten many apples and you dress like this?” The woman good-naturedly promised to dress modestly in the future.

Peace of Mind and the Spirit of Poverty

In a letter of Christmas 1981, Brother Gino writes on the spirit of poverty and how it brings peace of mind.

“The poor grotto of Bethlehem is a light of salvation for us all, (it also gives us) the sublime example of what every Christian should be. The frivolous things of this world, a world that has become so materialistic, bring peace to no man, but rather a continuous dissatisfaction; for within himself man feels empty and poor: he is starving and shall continue to hunger, he is thirsty and shall ever remain so, for he has everything but at the same time he lacks everything, for he lacks God, he lacks the life and joy of the heavenly Child of Bethlehem’s stable. Modern man lives in a continual agony, his longed for peace ever escaping him, a peace that shall continue to elude him until he brings back the life of God (Sanctifying Grace), into his life, until he begins again to live the teachings of the Child of Bethlehem.”

The Holy Eucharist

At Fatima, devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament was emphasized, and the Angel who appeared to the three children taught them to make acts of adoration and reparation to our Eucharistic Lord. The Blessed Virgin Mary asked us to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the first Saturdays in a spirit of reparation for sins that have offended the Immaculate Heart.

While Catholics are receiving Holy Communion more frequently today, yet the sanctifying effects of this frequent reception of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist are not what they should be, as many priests have noted. In reference to this practice, Brother Gino replied to someone: “This is because this (Holy Communion) should have a first place and all else should be put in second place, not first material things and then go and receive Communion. In order that Communion act in man there must be a certain detachment from material things and the ability to use them with the equilibrium shown by the light of God.”


Brother Gino Apostle Of Our Lady Of Fatima

Brother Gino
Apostle Of Our Lady Of Fatima

(Continued from Issue 9-10)

We continue here the biography of Brother Gino Burresi. O.M.V., which started in Issue 9-10 of The Fatima Crusader. Brother Gino’s Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima at San Vittorino near Rome, Italy, has become internationally well-known, and people from all over the world come to visit Brother Gino and come to his Shrine as a place of prayer and pilgrimage. Many people feel they have received special graces through Our Lady’s intercession there. Brother Gino has attracted many young people to San Vittorino to live the life of consecrated religious. These young people, mostly from the United States and Canada, have accepted the call to follow Christ and His Blessed Mother together with Brother Gino and the Oblates.

We continue here the description of the Oblate spirituality to which his young seminarians are attracted.

A special emphasis is given to adoration of the Eucharistic Lord, and this practice provides the Oblates with a major source of their spiritual strength and apostolic zeal.

Brother Gino by his words and example is true to the aims of the founder of his order. The first aim of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary is the salvation and sanctification of its members by imitating the virtues of Jesus and Mary. The second aim is the salvation and sanctification of others. Brother Gino constantly recommends loyalty to the Holy Father as the Vicar of Christ, as did Father Lanteri, who compared the Holy Father to a spiritual “prism through which is shed the light of Christian truth.” Brother Gino directs souls to pray the Rosary and to practice devotion to Our Lord present in the Holy Eucharist.

Teaching Catechism

In his earlier years as a brother, Brother Gino taught catechism to children at St. Michael’s Parish in Pisa. He taught in simple, humble, direct language that children understand. His soul was penetrated with Faith and love of God and of the Blessed Mother, and the children were aware of this and so they learned to have a similar faith and charity. They learned of the reality of Our Eucharistic Lord by watching their teacher’s example as Brother Gino genuflected before the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. His spirit of love and adoration in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament communicated much more to the children and youth of the parish than the words of a book could have done.

In Pisa and in other towns where he was sent, he dedicated himself to helping the poor. He also had the responsibility of cleaning the rooms of students who were in residence at the university in Pisa. The students were easily attracted by the ways of the world, and often put God out of their minds. Brother Gino used opportunities when cleaning the students’ rooms to meet these young men and to talk to them. His kindness and concern for their souls resulted in many conversions among the university students.

A Little Statue of the Madonna

When Brother Gino received news that he was being transferred to Chiavari, the altar boys and the children of the Catechism class, who were all very sad that he was leaving, decided to give him a present. They bought him a little statue of Our Lady of Fatima. All they knew about it was that it represented the Blessed Virgin Mary. Brother Gino himself had not heard about Our Lady of Fatima. His mother had taught him to have devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. St. Bernadette was canonized by Pope Pius XI on December 8th, 1933, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. At that time Brother Gino was about one and a half years old. The devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, also known as the devotion to the Immaculate Conception, had by that time become very popular, and Blandina Burresi instilled in her little boy a great devotion to God’s Mother under that title.

When he went to Chiavari, Brother Gino brought with him the little statue of Our Lady of Fatima that the children had given him. He looked for reading materials that would tell him about the story concerning the little statue of Our Lady. At Chiavari, he was assigned work in the chapel of the Sacred Heart and janitorial work in the college.

People he came in contact with began to notice his humility and charity and they would ask his counsel and prayers. He had words of comfort for all who came to him, and he invited them to turn with faith to Our Lady of Fatima. With the permission of his superiors, he would go to visit the sick in the nearby Civil Hospital, and bring them words of comfort and invite them to pray and have faith in the maternal intercession of Our Lady. He gave everyone little medals or rosaries or holy cards. Both the patients and the people who worked at the hospital enjoyed and desired his visits. Soon many souls began to tell of special graces they had obtained which they believed were the result of Brother Gino’s prayers. There were cures and conversions which seemed miraculous. At Chiavari, with the help of Our Lady of Fatima, Brother Gino began his special apostolate of conversion of sinners through counseling, direction of good souls and care of the sick. He did these things with great humility and discretion and even his superiors didn’t at first realize the magnitude of his charitable works and the great effect he was having on so many souls.




In Italy there now lives a brother of the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, who has helped many people to know how to apply the Message of Fatima in their lives in the Twentieth Century. His name is Brother Gino, and in the following article we quote him many times when he talks about living the Message of Fatima. In addition to the edifying effect of his spiritual counsels and the example of his holy life, God seems to be teaching us another thing through the special gifts He has given this brother.

People who have a knowledge of theology and who have known Brother Gino agree that God has a special purpose for giving us this Brother in the Twentieth Century. One of the signs of the times today is the prevalence of atheism and materialism, where people live as though there were no God and where at times it seems whole nations forget that there is a God Who created all things and to Whom we are answerable for what we do. By giving to the Church in the Twentieth Century such a holy man, God seems to be showing us that Christ is real, the Catholic Faith is real, and that Christ is still with us. God hasn’t forgotten us even though so many of us forget Him.

Brother Gino has a great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and he has built a large shrine in Her honor at San Vittorino, near Rome, Italy. He sees the importance of the Fatima Message in our times, and explains (as Pope John Paul II says), Fatima is a reaffirmation of the Gospels. Our Lady of Fatima told us how to apply the teachings of Christ to our lives in the Twentieth Century.

Brother Gino was born on July 7, 1932 in a small farming town called Gambassi, near Florence, in Italy. He is the eldest child of Angelo and Blandina Burresi. From an early age, as his mother noticed, he showed great charity for others and an unusual degree of devotion to God and the Blessed Mother. At the early age of 14 he joined the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, and made his perpetual vows in 1956.

Saved American Soldiers

During World War II there was much crisis and sorrow for Italy, as there was for the rest of the world. Brother Gino was about nine years old at the time. Previous to the takeover by the American soldiers, Brother Gino helped to save the lives of several American soldiers who had been taken prisoner by certain German soldiers who intended to kill them.

Gino said to his father, “Those Germans intend to kill the Americans. It is not right to kill those many young men. You must free them.”

Angelo Burresi replied to his boy, “It is too dangerous. The fence which surrounds the prison camp is electrified.”

Gino said, “Father, do not worry. I will pray to the Blessed Mother. You go ahead and free those soldiers. Nothing will happen to you.”

The boy Gino kept insisting until Angelo Burresi, together with his cousin, went to see what they could do. They cut the wire and helped the young prisoners to escape.

Angelo next called several Italian families together and came to an understanding with them that the American soldiers would be kept hidden from the Germans. These families would see that sufficient food was given to the Americans. Gino was assigned to represent the Burresi’s by carrying food to the American young men. It was necessary to pass the German soldiers to reach the hiding Americans, and at times Gino had much difficulty, as he had to make several river crossings.

His mother Blandina Burresi had taught him to pray in the following way when he was afraid: “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, accompany me along the way.” And she had given him a Rosary and taught him to say it. Armed with these prayers Gino passed safely through the Germans and brought food to the American soldiers in their place of hiding. This whole incident was very heroic, as all who were involved in freeing, hiding, and feeding the American soldiers may well have been shot by the German soldiers if they were discovered.

Early Years as a Brother

On December 10, 1946, when Gino was fourteen years old, he entered the Oblates of the Virgin Mary as an aspirant. On February 13, 1950, he entered the novitiate. He wanted to be a brother. Since he was very talented and intelligent, his parents and superiors didn’t understand why he didn’t aspire to be a priest. Brother Gino was trying to do God’s will above all, and he thought God wanted him to be a brother. He was happy to do the humble work of a brother, teaching catechism, visiting the sick, helping the poor, and looking after the cleaning of the churches where he was working at different times. After many years Brother Gino resumed his studies for the priesthood. In 1979 he was ordained a deacon, which is the major order which precedes ordination to the priesthood. Brother Gino, by his prayers and example, has drawn many young men to come to the Oblate Seminary at Our Lady of Fatima’s shrine at San Vittorino.

The Oblates of the Virgin Mary

The Oblates of the Virgin Mary is a Congregation founded by Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri, a humble Italian priest who lived in the troubled times during and after the French Revolution. When Bruno Lanteri was just a little boy of four years old, his mother died, and his father was left looking after a large family of young children. Bruno’s father took him to the parish church, and there before the altar of Our Lady he said to his son: “You no longer have a mother here on earth. From now on, the Blessed Virgin will be your Mother. Love Her as your true Mother.”

When Bruno Lanteri was in Turin studying for the priesthood, everywhere there was influence of the false doctrines of the Jansenists. Jansen taught in effect that human nature was completely corrupted by original sin and that we don’t have a free will and he taught the false doctrine of predestination. These heresies caused people to lack trust in God’s mercy and goodness. Heated controversies over the false doctrines occurred in theological circles. Bruno Lanteri however continued in his devotion to the Mother of God, who, as the Catholic Church says, is the destroyer of all heresies, and Bruno’s prayers were answered, and he was saved from the errors of the Jansenists. Just before receiving the diaconate, Bruno Lanteri consecrated himself in a special way into the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in 1781), in a similar manner as the offering of St. Louis de Montfort.

While studying for the priesthood, Bruno Lanteri worked among the poor in Turin. As a priest, he constantly encouraged others to have loyalty to the Holy Father. “It is a question of the unity, of the center, of the foundation of the faith,” he said. When Pope Pius VII was imprisoned at Savona (1809 -1812), then at Fontainebleau during the Napoleonic era in the hope that the Pope might give in to the Emperor who wanted control over Pope and bishops, it was Father Lanteri who, during these years, managed to get secret documents into the hands of the Pope which His Holiness in turn used to overcome Napoleon’s plans to rule the Church.

Father Lanteri was devoted to spreading Catholic teaching through the diffusion of good Catholic literature. He also published pamphlets giving the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding news events of the day, to alert the faithful, to clarify the issues and to give encouragement.

Father Lanteri found others to help him to help invalids and the sick and the poor and the imprisoned. One of the tasks of the order he founded was the formation and sanctification of the clergy. For this, Father Lanteri gave retreats using the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, and he encouraged souls to consecrate themselves totally to God through the hands of Mary. In speaking of his religious order, he would say, “I am not the Founder. The Founder is Our Lady.” And he directed his Oblates to be apostles of Mary as well as personally consecrating themselves to God through Mary, because as he said, “In order to bring souls to God it is necessary to make them pass through the hands of Mary.”

The Oblates look to Saint Thomas Aquinas as their teacher of dogmatic theology, and Saint Alphonsus Liguori is their teacher in moral theology.

Their Rule says that the Oblates of the Virgin Mary fight against current errors, even those diffused within the Church, especially those regarding dogma and morals. To help them achieve this goal, they have frequent recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “who has overcome all the world’s heresies.” According to the intention of their founder, the Oblates profess a complete obedience to the authority of the Holy See and a complete acceptance of the teachings of the Holy Father.

(Continued next issue)