Rome (Italy). On 10 and 11 November 2023, the National Missionary Animation Team met in Genoa Sampierdarena, at Don Bosco Work of the Salesians. It is made up of a group of young people, Salesians of Don Bosco, and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians belonging to the various territorial realities of Missionary Animation of Italy, to continue the community reflection, started in 2022 in Valdocco, Turin, in view of the 150th anniversary of the first missionary expeditions.
“We are part of a dream of love,” recounts Gaia, one of the members of the Team, “A dream that took shape on 11 November 1875, the first SDB missionary expedition, and on 14 November 1877, the first FMA missionary expedition, and which continues to flow and is written in its details with more particulars even today, involving us as Salesian Family.
During the first, day we visited the rooms of the future Museum of Salesian missionary expeditions, which will be built within the Sampierdarena building. Then we headed towards the city’s Emigration Museum, a true reality of comparison with many stories of men and women who found themselves leaving their homes for various reasons.
It was beautiful to also find figures from our Family among them: Saint’ Artemide Zatti, SDB, Fr. Raffaele Piperni, SDB, and Sister Maddalena Inzaghi, FMA. Part of the uniqueness of the Museum is that you are associated with a passport to simulate dialogues in the language with people from other countries. There are also monitors to find out which job would be given to you at certain times based on your gender and age. Truly an emotional Museum, which raises questions on very current issues.
We then went for a time of reflection and prayer to the Church of San Sisto, where Don Bosco celebrated his first Mass in Genoa in 1857, a gift from Providence. Here we reread the words given by Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello to the first missionaries and we asked ourselves what they would say to us today. After a journey that led us to the ancient port from which the first missionaries set sail, in the evening we returned to Sampierdarena, where the Goodnight was waiting for us from Fr. Stefano Sperati, Provincial of the Central Italy Province, and from Sister Elide Degiovanni, Provincial of Our Lady of the Cenacle Province (ILS), who encouraged us to joy, to trust, and to recognize each other as brothers and sisters.
On Saturday morning, we reflected on some paths that could help Salesian Italy prepare for the 150th anniversary of the first SDB and FMA expeditions. What emerged will be shared with Delegates and Councilors of Youth Ministry and with the Provincials of Italy, in order to proceed with beginning the work.
It was the opportunity for a beautiful encounter, a sign of the presence and guidance of the Spirit whom we are sure illuminated our reflections. We hope they will be good ideas for sharing and fraternity for the entire national territory. These were intense days and, above all, imbued with love for that dream of which we too are part of today as Salesian Italy”.