Rome (Italy). On 12 June 2022, the 7th meeting of the International Commission of Salesian Institutions of Higher Education (ISS-FMA) took place online, representative of the Institutions present in the various geographical areas of the world, representing the six nodes of the network ISS-FMA, in four continents and sixteen countries, in dialogue with the Youth Ministry Sector of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
The meeting was attended by the new members nominated by the Conferences to which they belong who, together with the General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Sr. Runita Borja and the Sector Coordinator for the ISS-FMA, Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes, are:
Dr. Rubén Iduriaga of CES Don Bosco in Madrid, for the Argentina-Uruguay-Spain node (CICSAL, CIME) and Bolivia; Sr. Kaniyampady Molly Elizabeth of Auxilium College Harpur in Udalguri, India (ING) for English-speaking Asia – Africa node (PCI – CIAO – CIAM); Sr. Carmelita Leonilda Agrizzi, of the Salesian Catholic Faculty of Macaè, Rio de Janeiro (BMM) for the Brazil node (CIB); Sr. Ana Julia Suriel of the Salomé Ureña Higher Institute of Teacher Training, Recinto Emilio Prud’Homme (ANT) for the Mexico and Dominican Republic node (CIMAC); Sr. Carline Laguerre of the Training School for Teachers (ENI) and of the Salesian Pedagogical Center (CPS) of Jacmel (HAI), for the French-speaking node Dem. Republic of Congo, Benin and Haiti plus Auxilium Rome; Sr. Mónica Patricia Tausa Ramírez of the M.A. Santa Marta (CMA), for the Colombia node (CINAB); Sr. Piera Ruffinatto and Sr. Martha Séïde of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences “Auxilium” in Rome (RMC).
The objectives of the meeting of the Commission, which met for the first time in 2007, were to get to know and share together, to plan the processes through which to consolidate the identity, improve quality and visibility, and strengthen the existing network of the ISS-FMA, as well as planning the IV World Meeting of the ISS-FMA to be held at the end of the six-year term.
After the presentation of each member and the prayer to the Holy Trinity, icon of communion in diversity, Sr. Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, gave her discourse, summarizing the history of the Commission and underlining the importance of cultivating relationships with the various Institutions of the node represented, in order to act as a ‘bridge’ with the Youth Ministry Sector and work in synodality:
“In this meeting, as always, we put ourselves in an attitude of listening, even if sometimes this could require a longer time and slow down some steps, at least according to our usual criteria. Listening is the basis of effective planning. Without listening, any programming, even the most sophisticated, would be considered to have already failed from the start. By listening, however, we ensure that everyone is represented because everyone has the right to speak. In this way, we will build together a more inclusive, more collaborative, more convergent animation, closer to different realities, and that arouses a broader involvement. An African proverb comes to mind, often quoted also by Pope Francis, and which I would like to leave with you as a reminder, ‘If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk with others’.”
After a resonance of the contents heard, the group then discussed the identity document of the ISS-FMA Commission of 2018, to evaluate any changes.
Subsequently, Sr. Ivone Goulart presented the latest survey, sent to the ISS-FMA on 31 October 2021, in order to update the general and statistical data of ISS.
Finally, through brain storming, the members of the Commission shared what they wish to achieve regarding the processes to improve the quality, identity, visibility, and networking of the ISS-FMA. The presentation of the proposal, with the contributions that emerged regarding the strategies, policies, and programming up to 2027, will be sent by the Sector to the members of the Commission by the end of June 2022.
In the next online meeting at the end of February/beginning of March 2023, the Commission will work on the conclusion of the ISS-FMA 2023-2027 Plan and on the programming of activities in common.
The meeting and knowledge between the Leaders of all the ISS-FMA is an excellent opportunity to increase communion and a sense of belonging and to establish a network of collaboration between people and between Institutions.
“To educate is to take risks in the tension between the head, heart and hands in harmony, to the point of thinking about what I feel and do; to hearing what I think and do; to doing what I feel and think. It is harmony” (Pope Francis, to the delegation of the “global researchers advancing catholic education project”, 20 April 2022).