Montevideo (Uruguay). The Institute of Mary Help of Christians (IMA) of Montevideo of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Immaculate Conception Province (URU), celebrates 130 years of Salesian educational presence (1891-2021).
The slogan “130 years Educating in hope” characterizes the year, which has three celebratory moments: May 24, 2021, on the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians, June 9, on the anniversary of the foundation of the work and the third which will take place in October . For the preparation of the events, three Commissions have been set up made up of Directors, Educators, pupils and families, with the task of sharing ideas, planning and implementing each initiative, involving the whole IMA Educating Community.
The Novena to Mary Help of Christians, animated by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Community, with the involvement of young people, children, and families, prepared them to experience the first event. On May 24, 2021, the feast in honor of Mary Help of Christians took place in live streaming on the School’s social channels, through the sharing of photos and videos of past years, games, dances, interactive activities, testimonies of Past Pupils and families, interviews.
To the question “What does Mary represent in your life?”, the Animator of the FMA Community, Sr. Adriana Silva, replied: “Mary in my life is a living, maternal presence, who constantly accompanies me and inspires me a lifestyle, a way of relating to things and people. As a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, I am called to make others feel that Mary is present, really close. ” The day ended with the Eucharistic Celebration, in which the IMA Educating Community placed itself “under the mantle of Mary”, invoking her blessing and protection.
The celebrations for the 130th anniversary of IMA, on 9 June 2021, began with Holy Mass presided over by the Provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco of the St. Joseph Province (URU), Fr. Alfonso María Bauer Ormazábal. The Provincial, Sr. María de los Ángeles Grassi, was present. The assembly was made up of representatives from all areas of the IMA Institute, children from the Kindergarten and Primary School. The Celebration ended with the hymn “Oh qual sorte”, performed by the FMA and with a tribute to the teachers who have been part of the Educating Community for 25 years.
The celebration continued with a show by the theater group of the Past Pupils of the Casa i Parodistas Aristóphanes. In the afternoon, the tricks of a magician aroused the amazement of the little ones. Both artistic moments culminated with the song “Happy birthday IMA”.
In the last meeting in October, tribute will be paid to those who contributed to the development of the mission of the Institute of Mary Help of Christians in the area, in the style of Don Bosco and Mother
Celebrating the 130th anniversary of IMA is to renew gratitude to God for so many FMA and lay people who spent their lives laying solid foundations for the Salesian charism in Uruguay. It is renewing the commitment to the present and hope for the future. 130 years of history, of dreams and projects realized and still to be realized, always trusting in the protection and wise guidance of Mary Help of Christians.
“Mary Help of Christians” Institute – which today opens its doors to children and young people who attend Kindergarten, Elementary, and Secondary School – was born from the desire of Monsignor Mariano Soler, first Archbishop of Montevideo, to give formation to disadvantaged girls of the city, through the Primary and Commercial School, with various laboratory activities such as sewing, embroidery and others.
Msgr. Soler summoned a group of women from Montevideo and created a commission to obtain the space and means to build the Institute. A woman from the area donated the land for the construction of the first arm of the building and a benefactor bought the houses and the adjacent land.
In August 1889, the first stone was laid, in the presence of the President of the Republic Máximo Tajes, the First Lady Ascensión Sáenz, Archbishop Soler, and Bishop Luigi Lasagna, SDB. The construction, however, continued with difficulty.
On January 16, 1891, seven Daughters of Mary Help of Christians settled in the work. Sr. Veronica Licca was the first Animator. Classes opened on June 9, 2021. Two months after opening, the school already had 150 students because it was the only one in the area. A few weeks later, the Festive Oratory opened, with catechesis and pastoral activities in the Salesian style. In the following years, the School gradually expanded its facilities.
From 1900 to 1976, the School building was also the seat of the FMA Province of Uruguay and of the Formation House for FMA Aspirants. The IMA Institute responded to new needs and was attentive to socio-cultural changes. In the academic field, for several years it housed the Maria Ausiliatrice Music Conservatory and the only authorized Catholic Magisterium in Uruguay, erected in 1905. In 1934, the opening of Basic Secondary Education was authorized. In 1991 the Institute of Mary Help of Christians celebrated the centenary of the foundation.