Rome (Italy). At the opening of Circular no. 1038, Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Chiara Cazzuola, expresses her gratitude for the World Day of Gratitude, celebrated in Maputo in the Mozambican Province of St. John Bosco, 26 April 2024, to the Provincial, Sister Carolina Ilda Hermínio, and to all the Sisters of the Province for their careful preparation, to the FMA, to the Educating Communities, and to the members of the Salesian Family, for the expressions of affection and closeness and for the concrete gestures of solidarity

Towards the 150th anniversary of the first missionary departure of the FMA

In recalling the important anniversary for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, in the year 2027, of the 150th anniversary of the departure of the first missionaries from Mornese to Uruguay and then to Argentina, Mother stresses that “every important anniversary is a call to return to the roots of our history, to the sources of our spirituality” and repeats the words of Pope Francis at the Chapter Assembly, on 22 October 2021, “Do not forget the grace of the origins, the humility and the smallness of the beginnings that made transparent the action of God in the life and in the message of those who, full of wonder, began this journey.”

It is an anniversary that invites us to rediscover the missionary call, which has been part of the FMA identity since the beginning and which, however, is not always found in the works as “a burning, dynamic, and strong fire. We seem more concerned about professional outcomes than educational ones. The ardor of the da mihi animas cetera tolle and of the mandate received by Mother Mazzarello, ‘I entrust them to you’ seems to have subsided,” observes Mother.

Although society, increasingly de-Christianized, seems to standardize every educative intervention, “the dream of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello resounds even stronger in our hearts.” Therefore, she encourages us to “rediscover with more enthusiasm and responsibility, the sense of mission, of ‘walking together’ as an educating community, with young people, to indicate to them reasons for hope and joy in Jesus,” through witness and charismatic passion, which finds its roots in the mystique of the da mihi animas and in the ascesis of the cetera tolle.

A journey of conversion of the heart

Mother then shared the reflection with the Sisters of the General Council in preparation for the official celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first missionary departure of the FMA on 14 November 1877, two years after the first missionary expedition of the Salesian brothers (11 November 1875), and reports that it will be preceded by a three-year period in preparation, from 14 November 2024 to 14 November 2027. It will be “a personal and community journey of conversion of heart and gratitude to the Lord for the marvels worked in our humble but courageous missionary history (…), it is vital and urgent to reawaken the fire of missionary activity, characteristic of our charismatic identity.”

“Celebrating with a grateful heart the missionary zeal of the Institute in order to revive, in contemporaneity, the prophetic impulse of our charism as a gift to the Church and to humanity” is the goal of the Triennium. The slogan is:

Now is the time to rekindle the fire – 150th of the FMA missions (L 27).

Together with the hope of a process that “truly touches our lives and helps us to be involved in a new missionary call,” the itinerary of the 3 years, in which there are no lack of major events of the Church and the Institute, including Jubilee 2025, the Triennial Verifications, and General Chapter XXV. The first stage will be introduced by the celebration of the Centenary of the Birth into Heaven of Mother Catherine Daghero (1924-2024).

In order to concretely be an “outgoing community” and to foster a new missionary impulse, projects for unaccompanied minors and a commitment to the new evangelization in Europe are proposed, also by sending and welcoming missionaries from other Continents, encouraging the sending on mission of sensitive and prepared lay people.

Each Province is also invited “to rediscover its own missionary history, studying the missionary figures who left there or who came there to bring the Salesian charism.” In this regard, Mother Chiara suggests “to promote and involve the Sisters who are members of the Association of Curators of Salesian History (ACSSA), other Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and passionate lay people, to undertake research in the provincial and local archives, to bring out still unknown aspects of the history of the Institute and the Provinces.”

The Circular concludes with reference to Mary, “Mother, Teacher, and first Missionary of the Gospel” who accompanies and precedes in this particular journey and to whom to entrust “peace among peoples, our communities in difficulty, the young people we love with particular charismatic predilection.”

Mother wishes a beautiful Feast of Mary Help of Christians to all the FMA, to their families, and to the Educating Communities.

Circular no. 1038


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