Fr. Vismara died at the age of 91 after serving the people of Burma (now Myanmar) for 65 years. A native of Agrate, Italy, he served in World War I. In 1919 he entered the PIME seminary in Milan, and was ordained in May of 1923. In August of that year he sailed for the Orient, arriving six months later in Keng Tung, Burma. Starting from scratch, he built several large churches and chapels throughout the mountainous region. But his greatest passion was to take care of needy children and widows by providing schools, dwellings and hospitals. He educated many others and influenced them with his assistance in the name of a better living and more meaningful lives in the name of Christ. He died in his beloved adopted home in Myanmar on June 15, 1988.
At the start of the celebration a brief biography of Fr Vismara’s was read by Fr Piero Gheddo, PIME, who quoted Fr Clement himself who once had said: “Life is about going forward. Life is beautiful when it is given.” In his homely Card Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan quoting Vismara, said, “Life is radiant from the moment in which we start to give it. . . . Only love makes life win.” With Fr. Vismara were Blessed also a priest from Lecco, Don Serafino Morazzone (1742-1822) and Sister Enrichetta Alfieri (1891-1951) of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide.
About the life of ‘missioners’, in Asia at the times of fr.Vismara, we can add that at the beginning it was very hard for them, as young foreigners, to fit it into the main stream of a new culture and new groups of people. They had always a strong desire to ‘swim’ against or along with common opinions sprung in their native countries. This desire was simply the inherited and acquired system of their believes, values, love and justice and daily choices and they had to adjust and live it in a unique form of life; within the current of an old and native asian humanity. A more in-depth probing of the same, might had an effect on their many personal relationships, but once assigned to a mission-place they were free and didn’t mind the idea of experimenting on themselves in the name of Christ a life at the margins. Only they didn’t wish anyone else to be effected by their natural desire for ‘contrast and disparity’ as they knew that they were coming from a very different, cultural and religious, background. Some had the capacity do it until the end.