The Somascan Fathers are a charitable religious congregation of priests and brothers, founded in Italy in the 16th century by Saint Jerome Emiliani and named after the motherhouse at Somasca. They are often called Somascans for short. Their formal name is Ordo Clericorum Regularium a Somascha, abbreviated as C.R.S. after members' names. The Somascan Charism is“Showing the Paternal Love of God to the poor, the abandoned, the needy and thereby testifying to the world that EVERYONE is a dignified child of God.” These religious members address to the Founder of the Congregation of the Servants of the Poor this beautiful prayer: “Your hands were instruments of prayer and charity. Teach us to pray and love in spirit and truth”. “Emiliani” has become the name of many orphanages, child care centers, group homes around the world. “Emiliani” is the Universal Patron Saint of the Orphans. (Bring about St.Jerome from our magazine) In 1532, two priests Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso joined the charitable work of Saint Jerome Emiliani and founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somasca.
Through calamities and difficulties of any kind that have developed during the four centuries of history, the Somascan Order has never ceased its apostolate for the needy youth. St. Jerome’s disciples have founded seminaries, houses of education, colleges, professional schools, workshops in Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Central America, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India and in the United States of America. The Mission of the Somascan Institutions is to bring together parents, teachers, professionals and community members with a commitment to preserving and promoting language, heritage, culture, values, and help raise new generations of passionate young leaders through education. One of the visions is to establish Colleges that deliver a comprehensive education, guiding students through the richness of culture, family values, traditions and the Roman Catholic faith. The education of youth was put into the programme of the Order and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in its four provinces: Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. The Somascan Tradition has accompanied many notable Italians who were educated in colleges established by the congregation of Saint Jerome Emiliani. In Italy, the Somascans are the rectors of the Pontifical Collegio Gallio, in the city of Como, established by Pope Gregory XIII with the bull "Immensa Dei providentia". To this day, the Collegio Gallio represents the oldest continuing educational institution in all of Europe, founded in 1583.
St. Jerome’s Colleges honour the life and pedagogical model of Saint Jerome Emiliani. Saint Jerome's mission developed into a new theory of learning, one of filial love, solid Catholic teaching and ‘on-the-job’ skills transferable to real-life. “St. Jerome [Emiliani] developed the idea that youth, in order to grow up with health - and especially the most needy - cannot be abandoned, but that love is an essential requisite. In him, love went beyond resourcefulness, and given that it was a love that arose from the very charity of God, it was full of patience and understanding: attentive, tender, ready for sacrifice, like that of a mother,” says Pope Benedict XVI, 20 July 2011. Emiliani’s pedagogy can be addressed under three broad pillars:
Live by the dignified rule of work (according to one’s state in life)
Educate on devotion and loyalty to the values of the Catholic tradition.
Create a stable atmosphere of charity with communal acceptance of all and love for the poor.
The Somascan Fathers and Brothers continue St. Jerome's mission as either priests or brothers by living in communities, pursuing holiness by prayer and ministry to the poor, living in humility and kindness, loving poverty and work, praying to Jesus and Mary. They perform different ministries in the Church, such as the care of orphans, the disadvantaged and the poor; the treatment of at-risk youth; the rehabilitation of drug addicts; education; pastoral care and spiritual guidance; the pastoral care of minorities; foreign missions; and youth formation. They work in group homes, treatment and rehabilitation centers, retreat houses, schools, youth centers, and parishes. At present the Somascans operate in the following countries:
Europe: Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania, Albania;
Americas: USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia,Ecuador, Brazil, Santo Domingo;
Asia: the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Australia;