Rome (Italy). Towards the Celebration of the 150th anniversary of Foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (1872-2022), the Formation Sector of the FMA Institute offers FMA from 70 years of age onwards the possibility of the virtual pilgrimage “A yes that lasts over time”.
Following the experience lived by the Novices of the virtual meeting with Mother Mazzarello in Mornese today Mother writes a letter to You!, this proposal is addressed to those who have already traveled a significant part of the journey in Salesian religious life and brings with them the wisdom of lived experience, of unconditional self-giving, the essentiality, the detachment from their ideas, and the ability to welcome the new of today, which comes from the Spirit and reaches through the younger generations, to be “Communities that generate life”, in fidelity to the Charism.
Objective of the Pilgrimage is ‘rediscovering’ Mother Mazzarello in her Christian and Salesian vocational experience and, in the light of her journey, re-reading one’s own history in a sapiential, charismatic key. Making this re-reading of life in the light of the Founders is important as each FMA is heir to their charismatic, spiritual, and pedagogical patrimony. It is a question of reflecting on the human and spiritual history of both, to consider their life and vocation in the light of their charismatic experience.
The proposal in the online mode aims to be, as indicated by the Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, in her greeting, “an alternative that offers to all those who wish, an immersion in Mornese (…) an opportunity to rediscover our Foundress in her Christian, vocational, and Salesian experience, lived as a gift and a free offering to others (…) a moment that gives quality to one’s vocational journey, a stage of relaunching the fervor of the ‘yes’; the first ‘yes’ transformed over time stronger and deeper through the experience of God’s love, His tenderness for each one, the gift of having been called to be FMA, goods that have woven our life”.
The experience, coordinated by Sr. Nieves Reboso, Councilor for Formation of the FMA Institute, and by Sr. Leslye Sàndigo, Coordinator of the Mornese Project, with an FMA team from various contexts, is proposed for the years 2021 and 2022 in five languages: Spanish, Italian, French, English, and Portuguese.
In the letter of invitation to the participants, at the doors of the XXIV General Chapter, Sr. Nieves Reboso wrote:
“The word of Mary that accompanies us is essentially direct, without misunderstandings ‘Do what He tells you.’ It is a time of revitalization of the charism. … The charism, born in Mornese, transplanted to the five continents is not a static reality, but a dynamic one that grows and develops with us. Everyone makes it live or die. Today the Institute has the face that I give it, a face of joy, of hope, of communion, of missionary solidarity. … 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 first virtual pilgrimage in Spanish began on 3 September 2021. There are two appointments each week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, lasting about 90 minutes each, for two months. The Pilgrimage had a good membership from most of the Provinces. There are more than 400 participants, from Spain, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Antilles, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina. The oldest FMA is 102 years old. The Sisters of the Communities are a testimony of fraternity and care towards the elderly sisters, in affording them the possibility of following the online meetings.
“Mother Mazzarello awaits you in the places sanctified by her presence; she wants to speak to your heart and revive the joy of being living stones of the monument of gratitude to Mary Help of Christians”.
(Mother Yvonne Reungoat)