Mornese (Italy). On 3 November 2021, towards the Celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (1872-2022), the virtual pilgrimage “A Yes that is prolonged over time” began in Italian, in the footsteps of Don Bosco, Mother Mazzarello, and the first communities of Mornese and Nizza Monferrato, offered by the Formation Sector of the Institute to the FMA from 70 years and over.
The experience proposed for the years 2021 and 2022 in five languages: Spanish, Italian, French, English, and Portuguese, aims to ‘rediscover’ Mother Mazzarello in her Christian and Salesian vocational experience and, in the light of her journey, reread one’s own history in a sapiential and charismatic key.
The Pilgrimage takes place over two months, with two weekly appointments, coordinated by the Councilor for Formation of the FMA Institute and by Sr. Leslye Sàndigo, Councilor for the Salesian Family and coordinator of the Mornese Project, with an FMA team and lay collaborators from various contexts.
The first virtual pilgrimage took place in September and October 2021, in Spanish, followed by more than 400 participants.
The Pilgrimage in Italian, which began on 3 November 2021, involves about 300 FMA from Africa (Kenya and Madagascar), Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Croatia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, Poland, Slovenia, Taiwan, Thailand, East Timor, Vietnam.
The first encounter opened with the greeting of the Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, who thanked Sr. Nieves Reboso, Councilor for Formation in the 2014-2021 sexennium, and the Sisters of the Sector for their creativity in the proposal that for many is an occasion to return virtually for a visit to the places of the Charism taken in times past.
Mother Chiara wished for each one “that participation in this virtual pilgrimage would be an opportunity to relaunch the vocational journey and holiness, returning to the first yes, which has become over time stronger through the experience of love, of tenderness, and of God’s fidelity. Mother Mazzarello awaits you with all her heart in the places sanctified by her presence. She wants to speak to your heart, she wants you to feel more fully the joy of being living stones of the monument of gratitude to Mary Help of Christians of which she was the cornerstone.”
Sr. Nilza Fatima de Moraes, Councilor for Formation of the FMA Institute, also motivated the participants to live this time as a strong moment of ongoing formation and charismatic rediscovery:
“The Charism, born in Mornese and transplanted to the five continents, is not a static reality, but a dynamic one, which grows and develops with us. Today, the Institute has the face that we give it, a face of joy, of hope, of communion, of missionary solidarity. We are all co-responsible for the vitality of the charism! This virtual pilgrimage is an extraordinary gift from God, an opportunity to rekindle the fire of love, the joy of vocation, and the beauty of Jesus’ proclamation to young people.”
The Pilgrimage in the Italian language is scheduled to have two meetings a week, Tuesday and Friday, and will end on 11 January 2022.