Hawthorne (United States). On 7 May 7 2022, the pupils of the St. Anthony Elementary School in Hawthorne, New Jersey, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of St. Joseph Province (SEC), staged the show “150 Years of Love” for their families, to a full theater.
The project for this theatrical performance, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the FMA Institute, developed over several months, coordinated by Sr. Marisol Guzman Lopez, FMA as producer and artistic director, with the participation of teachers and staff of the School, parents, and other members of the Educating Community, who took care of the choreography, costumes, music, and sound, lights, filming, and many other details.
The Principal, Sr. Mary Jackson, commented on the experience, “My heart was filled with gratitude to see the St. Anthony School Community and the local community come together to create and stage this unique theatrical event. In preparing for these ‘150 years of love!’, the children grew in a deeper relationship with God”.
The musical was in fact conceived as a way to share the story of the FMA with the students, involving them in their creativity and giving them the opportunity to use their gifts to tell the story. A particularly touching moment for the Sisters was when the students, dressed like the first FMA, sang “O Qual Sorte”, the Italian hymn about the joy of being a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians.
Amelia, a 13-year-old seventh-grade pupil who impersonated St. Mary Mazzarello, together with Sr. Marisol, wrote the music and lyrics for the songs “Mary Walks in This House” and “I entrust the Young to You”. The students performed another two songs along with Sr. Betty Ann Martinez, FMA, “Mary, our Star”, and “Holiness is For You, too!” by Shannon Stout, and an English version of “Walking Everyday with Mary”, which is the anthem for the 150th anniversary by Juan Javier Bernal Garcia’s. Regarding the work of elaborating the songs with Amelia, Sr. Marisol expressed herself as follows, “When I spoke for the first time about the musical project, Amelia immediately offered to write songs and made herself available for everything that was needed. Her enthusiasm encouraged me. This musical is an example of the extraordinary things that can happen when we believe in our young people”.
The final scene, a choreographic dance on “Mary Walks in This House”, with flags representing the presence of the Salesian Sisters around the world, left the audience enthusiastic about being part of the broader Salesian Family.
At the end of the show, Sr. Joanne Holloman, Provincial of the SEC Province, expressed herself as follows, “This musical celebrated not only the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians but also the whole Salesian Family, to which all those present belong. We say that ‘Mary walk in this house,” and Mary walks not only in this house, but also in your house. It is she who will take care of you and your family. From how the children have grasped the simplicity and beauty of what it means to be ‘Salesians’, I perceived that Mary surely walks in your house and will continue to do so”.
i know those that had anything to do with this are as proud as can be and will never forget it in a lifetime.
The one part of Sr. holloman’s speach that I loved was her last sentences. She said, ”Mary walks in this house,” and Mary walks not only in this house, but also in your house. It is she who will take care of you and your family. i went back and read it a few times.
Thanks for sharing.