historian, Passionist religious and a leader (1929-2008)
After three years of research, in late February of this year I published my doctoral thesis defended on May 13, 2015 at the Pontifical Gregorian University regarding a recently deceased confrere: Fr. Fabiano Giorgini.
In my research I focused on three aspects of his life: The Passionist religious whose constancy and reliability was widely esteemed among the brethren, his service carried out in key leadership roles in the Congregation in a period of transition like the second half of the last century, and the work as historian of the Congregation of the Passion, bringing to the brothers’ knowledge of the history and the genuine tradition of the Congregation.
The research done can be considered as a first attempt at reconstructing his life as a Passionist priest whose intellectual and human qualities led him to take part in significant and decisive moments in the history of the Passionist Congregation since the 50’s of the last century. Thus, he was a prominent figure of the Congregation and an authority when he spoke to the brothers about the history and the tradition of the Passionist Congregation.
In the first chapter, which chronologically covers the years between 1940 and 1956, I took into consideration the period of his formation until the attainment of Doctorate in Church History from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
In the second chapter I have analyzed the period from 1956 to 1972, the year he was chosen as the Provincial Superior to lead the Pietà (PIET) Province of Central-Eastern Italy.
In the third chapter I have studied his years in office as Provincial of the Pietà (PIET) Province from 1972 to 1976, followed by his term as Vice-General until 1982: a very intense decade from a pastoral point of view, which took him almost to a suspension of his historical research; however, he continued the preaching of spiritual exercises especially to the Passionist sisters and nuns.
In the fourth chapter I have studied his great contribution to the development of the Indonesian Mission: during his term as Provincial he made three trips to that land, remaining there about three months each; another time he returned immediately after his re-election in 1976.
In the fifth chapter I have highlighted the great energies he spent for the female cloistered branch of the Congregation founded by St. Paul of the Cross a few years before his death, for whom he not only offered great spiritual ideas by preaching retreats, spiritual exercises and the direction of souls, but also placed all his expertise and experience to the updating and approval of the Rule in accordance with the Vatican Council’s criteria.
In the final chapter I continue to highlight his historical research, analyzing some of his works and his authoritative interventions. He was a careful researcher, attentive to the causes and consequences of each historical event, trying to grasp the broader socio-religious background.
This scientific research is therefore a contribution to know and understand better the internal affairs of the Congregation of the Passion in the period between the 50s and 80s, even now the subject of discussions and reflections precisely because of the complexity of the period and to reawaken the historical memory of an eminent religious so that other confreres may study his writings and build on those foundations that he laid through his research and publication of the historical resources of the Congregation.
The hope is that in the future others may devote themselves to the intricate pieces of the contemporary history of the Congregation, which already seems so far away now, through the interpretation offered by this work on the life of a protagonist of that time as was Fr. Fabiano Giorgini.