The Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI) is an international institute at the Pontifical Urbaniana University. Its mission is to promote pastoral and theological formation and research in the field of human mobility from an interdisciplinary perspective. Founded in 2000 as an institute incorporated in the Pontifical Urbaniana University, SIMI has offered a program of Licentiate and a Doctorate in Pastoral Theology and Human Mobility.
Since 2019 the Licentiate and Doctorate program has been included in the degrees offered by the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Urbaniana University making SIMI even more present in the academic environment to offer the Church adequate tools in the specific field of human mobility.
The Institute is also member of different global networks that study migration and since its foundation it has been training numerous pastoral and social workers in the field of human mobility by promoting knowledge, expertise and planning abilities.
The Scalabrinian Roots
SIMI is an initiative of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, Scalabrinians and is inspired to John Baptist Scalabrini, Bishop of Piacenza and father of migrants. On November 9, 1997 Pope John Paul II proclaimed “Blessed” Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini, assigning his liturgical feast on June 1, the date of his death.
SIMI is inspired by the vision of the Piacentine Bishop, whom considered migration as a natural right of an individual, an opportunity of encounter and a tool of dialogue and social integration among peoples as well as an experience of uprooting, displacement and separation which demands the intervention of the Church and society in order to protect the dignity of migrants.
Faithful to the intuition of Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini, the founder of the Missionaries of Saint Charles – Scalabrinians, and in line with the charisma entrusted to this Roman Catholic religious order, SIMI aims at further expanding the analysis and reflection on the biblical, pastoral and theological significance of human mobility to the social understanding of the phenomenon and its implications for the promotion of the integral human dignity of migrants and refugees.
Besides denouncing the many injustices related to the migration phenomenon, Bishop Scalabrini regarded it as an open challenge to the hope for spreading the kingdom of God to such an extent that he suggested a “providential vision” of human mobility.
Within the framework of its research, SIMI takes into consideration the interpretative frameworks on migration offered by human, social and theological sciences in order to build communication channels among these disciplines as well as at training experts and missionaries able to foster critical analysis, debates, dialogues, and capacity building.
SIMI’s main activities in the field of human mobility are:
- Promoting an integral vision of human mobility in its manifold dimensions with particular attention to Christian anthropology and to the Social Doctrine of The Church;
- Offering specific tools to the Church at the universal and local level in order to respond to the needs concerning its mission with migrants and refugees;
- Coordinating events for social and pastoral workers operating in the context of human mobility; and organizing courses, symposia and conferences on the pastoral care of migrants and refugees;
- Encouraging theological and interdisciplinary research in the field of human mobility;
- Publishing pastoral and theological reflections on the phenomenon of migration;
- Cooperating with associations, universities and other study centres active in the field of human mobility;
- Supporting, from an ecumenical and interreligious perspectives, educational “frameworks” that build up a concept of peoples, societies, cultures and religions open to civic participation, engagement and solidarity.