Apostle Of Our Lady Of Fatima
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.
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.