The community of the Apostles of the Interior Life takes its form in the mind of a young Salvatore Scorza while he is still a seminarian in Rome. Fr. Salvatore affirms that the lack of religious practice, so common in our day and age, is, above all, a result of ignorance. There is, therefore, a need for young, consecrated people with a solid philosophical and theological preparation, that seek out their brothers and sisters where they are and guide them to meet God through a spiritual accompaniment. This, in short, his dream, that after many years of waiting and careful searching, attentive to the signs of providence, will take form during a trip in the USA. We are at the end of the 1970s. Fr. Salvatore asks permission to do a pastoral experience in America; he is consequently sent to a parish in the diocese of Santa Rosa in California and stays there to assist a group of young people for two years.
The group is made up of about 100 college age young adults; there is not a very spiritual atmosphere present and these young people lack Christian formation. Fr. Salvatore thinks about choosing from among them a few who are more available to offer them the instruments to grow spiritually and to help their friends who are further away. It is during this occasion that the meeting with Susan takes place, who decides to begin spiritual direction with the Italian priest, more out of curiosity than necessity. That first conversation saw her come out of it completely transformed. For the first time in her life she discovers that the aim of her life is to become holy and that this beautiful objective can be accomplished with the grace offered by God.
It is during this journey that Susan poses the vocational question that will find its answer in the idea that Fr. Salvatore, for years, cultivated in his heart. Certainly, for her that would mean leaving everything: family, friends, nation, language, financial security, in order to follow this priest, by now due to return back to Italy after two years of residing in the States, to found a community that doesn’t exist if not in the mind of this man of God. Susan prays about it and decides to accept, despite the understandable negative reaction of her family.
We are in the Spring of 1980 and Susan moves to Rome to begin this new adventure. The exact evening before her arrival, Fr. Salvatore manages to find her accommodation with an elderly lady in need of company. For two years Susan adapts to this kind of system, changing family according to necessity. In the meantime she enrolls in the department of Philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), where she will receive a bachelor and then a masters’ degree in Moral Theology. A few months after her arrival she meets Tiziana, stopping in the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Euclide Square (the Parioli zone of Rome). That is, in fact, her parish and the parish of the vivacious 17 year old girl with which a friendship is immediately born. After her final exam of High School Tiziana also decides to enroll in Philosophy and Theology desiring to serve the Lord in this mission.
Slowly a group of friends forms around these two courageous girls and their first ‘’official proposals’’ to do apostolate begin, such as, parish missions. In Rome a small group of married couples is born, who periodically meet together to reflect on the word of God. The first benefactors also arrive; the nascent community, in fact, desires to live solely on Providence in order to be able to dedicate themselves freely and completely to this work of evangelization. After a couple of years, Susan moves into an apartment that Fr. Salvatore acquiesced with his own savings. That will be the first ‘’convent’’ of the AVI, a witness to the entrance of the first generation until 1999, when it will be sold to acquire another apartment in the nearby zone of the Olympic Village. In 1984, Tiziana will go to live with Susan in the first historic apartment on Luca Signorelli Street. In 1989, also Loredana, the youngest sister of Tiziana, joins and together with Simona Panico, they will form the foundation of the community on the 12th April (Holy Thursday) 1990 at the Church of San Silvestro at the Priscilla Catacombs in Salaria Street.
Since then God’s Providence has opened the door for the AVI to be present on college campuses in the United States, including the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL; the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS; the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI; and Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. In response to the growing interest of many lay people to share in this charism, in 2009 a Provincial House was established in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS, to assist the recently formed movement “Collaborators of Your Joy”.
The fruitfulness of this charism has also brought in recent years to the starting of the male branch of the Apostles of the Interior Life. By June 2012 the first 5 brothers had been ordained to the Priesthood, thus bringing to fulfillment Father Salvatore’s inspiration to form priests to be exclusively committed to evangelization and to offering spiritual direction and Sacraments to those available to receive them.