Hong Kong (China). On 24 March 2023, in Hong Kong, in the presence of the Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, the 100th anniversary of the presence of the FMA in China was celebrated.
On 15 March 1923, the first group of six FMA missionaries, led by Bishop Luigi Versiglia and Fr. Callisto Caravario, Salesians of Don Bosco, today Holy Martyrs, arrived in China from Italy to begin their humble but precious missionary work. In 1945, they arrived in Macau, where they found the conditions suitable for the mission. On 16 May 1946, Mary Help of Christians Province (CIN) was canonically erected. In 1950, the FMA arrived in Hong Kong and in 1952 in Taiwan.
For one hundred years, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have proclaimed the Gospel through nursery, elementary, and high schools, youth centers, family homes, boarding schools for the poorest children, and catechesis in the parishes, supporting thousands of children and young people in their growth with the spirit of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello.
To underline this important anniversary, the FMA of the CIN Province, together with the Educating Communities and representatives of the Salesian Family, celebrated a solemn Mass of thanksgiving on 24 March in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, presided over by the Bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong, Msgr. Stephen Chow. Video SDB
Mother Chiara was present at the Celebration. She took the opportunity of the jubilee event to pay a visit to the Sisters of this Province.
From 18 to 29 March, she was able to visit all the communities and educational works in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Wherever she went, Mother received a warm welcome and everyone expressed joy and enthusiasm for the encouragement she gave as she greeted the different groups of the Salesian Family. It was the first time that a Mother General had arrived in Taiwan and, on March 27 and 28, she was able to visit the Laura Youth Center, the nursery school, and experience a fraternal moment with the SDB Community of Tainan.
Meeting the Bishops and the Salesians of Don Bosco, she was able to share with them about the real situation of the realities of the territory and discuss the charismatic prospects for the future that await the Province.
Concluding the Visit, Mother Chiara addressed these words to the FMA of the CIN Province:
At the end of the celebration of the centenary of the presence of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in China, I want to thank the Lord with you for the gifts of His grace and His love to our religious family.
He wanted us in China as FMA, and made use of 6 humble and courageous women who, 100 years ago, without certainties and without human support, trusted in the Providence of the Father and with the guidance of Mary, Teacher and Powerful Help, they gave impetus to the Salesian charism. With great generosity and courage, they immediately lived among the people. They sought to get in touch with the girls and their families, trying to understand their problems, difficulties, and hopes. Aware of the mandate received, “I entrust them to you”, they laid the foundations for a fruitfulness that goes beyond time and beyond all borders. If we are here today, it is thanks to them.
Thank you for the warm and cordial welcome wherever I passed.
Thank you for the welcome I found in your works from the pupils and children, the teachers and the people who collaborate with you at various levels.
Thank you for the good you have done in these 100 years and continue to do.
This centenary invites us to “rekindle the fire”, as Mother Mazzarello writes in Letter 27. It is certainly a moment of grace to resume the journey, to re-launch fidelity to our Salesian vocation. It is a reminder of the responsibility of safeguarding and developing the charism. Each of us is personally responsible for its vitality, because the charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, but it is up to each of us, to our communities, to find ways and means so that it can express itself fully in the present and in the future as a response to new educational challenges. (…)
I pray that the celebration we have experienced may bear fruit and that many young people will be fascinated by the joy and beauty of our being Daughters of Mary Help of Christians responding courageously to the gift of the call!
I renew my “thankyou” to the Provincial and Visiting Councilor, to the Councils, to each of you, and to the people who have collaborated in a thousand ways to make this celebration solemn.
May Mary, solicitous and prevenient Mother, help us to faithfully live the charism. May she be a presence for all of us that accompanies us on the common path towards holiness. May the Lord bless you, support you, enlighten you, and make your life a hymn of perennial praise and gratitude to Him!
Magnificat! è commovente constatare che sotto ogni cielo il cuore salesiano batte all’unisono. Grazie Madre Chiara, per il dono costante e non facile della tua freschezza, serenità e grande interiorità, del tuoi incontri pieni di affetto e incoraggiamento che sono generativi di entusiasmo e di maggior impegno a vivere da FMA OGGI.
Congratulations dear sisters for the 100 years of fruitfulness and hard work. Mother Mary is there in China. WE believe so. We accept so.
Continue with courage towards another 100 with Mary.
Grazie Madre Chiara ci regala le parole di incoraggiamento e direzione. Cerchiamo di conservare il Carisma che è un gran dono dello Spirito Santo per la Chiesa e non solo le opere.