Rome (Italy). On 9 March 2023, in live streaming on the YouTube Channel of the FMA Study Center, starting at 18:30 (Italian time), the 5th appointment of the “Salesian Thursdays at the Auxilium”, will be held, on the communicative value of photographs, capable of telling an educational story spread over 105 countries on five continents.

Sr. Maria Ausilia De Siena, General Councilor for Social Communication of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, interviews Sr. Grazia Loparco, Professor of Church History at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences «Auxilium»; Sr. Angela Marzorati, responsible for the photographic archive of the General Secretariat; and Sr. Maria Luisa Nicastro, General Secretary of the FMA Institute.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the FMA Institute (1872-2022), Sr. Grazia Loparco and Sr. Angela Marzorati edited the volume: The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the world (1872-2022). Education through images, published in September 2022 by Palumbi Publishers.

Leafing through its pages, it is evident how the educational mission of the FMA is declined in thousands of environments, adapting to the most varied conditions to promote integral education, especially of young women, thus favoring their personal development as “good Christians and honest citizens” in the family, in society, in the Church, in schools, as well as in family homes, oratories, professional formation centers, missions, and university Institutions.

Each photograph reproduces a context, an activity, an educational style in the variety of situations, places, works, Educating Communities, periods, social groups, evoking realities and people, urgencies and responses, harmony and distances. Each photograph captures a lived moment and challenges the viewer to get involved in the scene, to try to understand, interpret, connect, deepen, imagine.

The 600 photographs published in the volume, selected on the basis of the over 140,000 preserved in the General Archive, with captions in Italian, English, and Spanish, are a journey that extends through chronological time and geography that reserves surprises.

The central photographic archive of the FMA is in fact a very rich heritage that could give life to a series of photographic volumes on female education over 150 years in the most distant contexts. If this documentary heritage were then intertwined with statistics and studies, both on the FMA and on other women religious, the real history of many Countries would certainly emerge enriched.

Until the 1960s, documentation was ensured by thousands of professional black and white photos. However, in recent decades, with the advent of digital technology, photographic documentation has become less frequent, certainly not for lack of interesting subjects to document. It is worth reflecting on how attention to preserving images that leave a lasting trace in the archives is increasingly rare, to tell the story of life and mission with its rapid changes to future generations.

Reflection with two members of the FMA General Council  is, therefore, an opportunity to strengthen the synergy between the cultural interest supported by the Auxilium Faculty and the institutional responsibility for an urgent mission in a world of youth that evolves and changes needs forms, languages involving the educating communities in a continuous dynamism, which deserves to be told, also with images.


Direct streaming 9 March 2023


  1. Notizie molto precise ed interessanti … purtroppo che la parte fotografica vada man mano scomparendo, poiché ritengo che le foto nel tempo danno grande valore ai ricordi.


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