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Monday 14 June |
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Blessed Clemente Vismara

Faith and courageous missionary in Myanmar

CLEMENTE VISMARA

Public Domain

PIME Missionary Priest (1897-1988)

His life

+ Born in Agrate Brianza, Italy, Clemente lost his parents when he was still quite young and was raised by his extended family before entering the seminary in 1913.

+ Drafted for military service during the First World War, he was awarded three medals for bravery and was discharged with the rank of sergeant major. He resumed his seminary studies in what would become the home of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (a distinct religious community that has come to be known as the PIME Missionaries).

+ Ordained a priest in 1923, he was immediately assigned to Burma (Myanmar), where he studied English and local dialects. The following year he established a new mission in Mong Lin.

+ Despite hostile conditions (in which several other missionaries died from disease and malnutrition), Father Clemente persevered and established other missions as he trained members of the indigenous community in different trades that would benefit the local communities.

+ During the Second World War, he was imprisoned with other missionaries by the British army. Following his captivity, he was able to reopen the orphanage he had established. In the years that followed, five of his PIME confreres were murdered.

+ In 1955, he was sent to founded yet another mission, this time in Mong Ping, and this became a mission base for the rest of his life.

+ Over the course of the next thirty years, Father Clemente established numerous mission stations, the last of which was the missionary district in Pannulong, established in 1986.

+ After decades of service to the people of Myanmar, Blessed Clemente died on June 15, 1988, and he was buried in Mong Ping in the square near the church which he built in 1962.

Worth knowing

Originally founded as a group of missionary diocesan priests and seminarians, the PIME missionaries have more than 500 missionaries serving in 18 countries and their headquarters in the United States is located in Detroit, Michigan. Their missionaries work to preach the Gospel, build chapels, provide medical aid, promote vocations in the countries they serve.

For reflection

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings of peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation.”—Isaiah 52:7

Prayer

O God, by whose untold mercy blessed Clemente preached the good news of the unfathomable riches of Christ, grant that through his intercession we may grow in knowledge of you and, bearing fruit in every good work, faithfully walk in your presence, in accord with the truth of the Gospel. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors—For Missionaries)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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