Turin (Italy). The annual UNISIT – Italian Provinces Union Assembly was held in Turin from 11 to 14 May 2023, at the headquarters of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI). About 80 participants were present: Sr. Paola Battagliola, Visiting Councilor of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and contact person for the Italian Provinces; the Provincials and Provincial Councilors of the area; the national Delegates of the various Associations; the FMA; and the invited lay people.

The work was opened by Sr. Paola Battagliola who, on the mandate of Mother General, follows the progress of the Italian Provinces; by Sr. Angela Maria Maccioni, Provincial of the Province of Mother Maddalena Morano and UNISIT referent; and by Sr. Mara Tagliaferri, President of CIOFS national and UNISIT secretary.

The theme, “Building vocational communities starting from the development of significant educational relationships” was developed by two speakers: Fr Michal Vojtas, Salesian of Don Bosco, Professor of Salesian History and Pedagogy at the Salesian Pontifical University of Rome (UPS); and by Prof. Francesca Busnelli, Professor of General Pedagogy. With understanding and competence, they alternated in the presentations, making the participants experience the transformative planning process and the various aspects that characterize it: creative fidelity and mentality of abundance; research, discernment and accompaniment of processes; operational coherence, synergy in working together.

In 2022, the Assembly had identified the path of the three-year period by indicating eight guidelines that orient the work of the Italian Provinces up to 2025:

  • Live the prophecy of the “presence” as a style of continuous and integral formation, which values reflexivity, mutual accompaniment and involvement from the beginning of the formation process.
  • Attend to charismatic formation together, FMA and laity, with a view to complementarity and co-responsibility in the mission.
  • Renew the Youth Vocational Ministry (cf. “To turn on the stars”) to respond to the demand for education (Global Educational Pact), as vocational communities that put the educational relationship at the center, networking.
  • Assume a communicative culture that promotes current and engaging communication models for a clear visibility of our identity and for greater effectiveness of the educational and evangelizing mission.
  • Activate governance and synodal animation actions based on involvement, participation, and co-responsibility in decision-making.
  • Identify together the processes for the redesigning of our presence in Italy and of the physical and organizational structures at the service of the mission and for the vitality of the charism.
  • As an educating community, assume the seven objectives of the Laudato si’ platform in the spirit of the Preventive System, identifying concrete steps in the perspective of integral ecology.
  • Identify concrete steps for a sustainable and supportive economy among the provinces.

In the 2023 Assembly, the third guideline was explored and the journey made together that offered tools for activating sharing and dialogue, for following paths in the form of synodality, and criteria for deepening and putting the proposed guidelines into practice.

A central moment of the Assembly consisted in the Eucharistic Celebration in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians on 13 May, the Solemnity of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, presided over by the 10th successor of Don Bosco, the Rector Major Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, and animated by the singing of the Choir of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, by the Postulants of the FMA, and directed by Fr. Maurizio Palazzo, SDB.

As in every meeting, there were work tables, meetings for the Provinces, an evening of fraternity, a visit to the city of Turin and the “Casa Don Bosco” museum in Valdocco, moments for becoming acquainted, and simple and informal discussion.

At the end of the intense and exciting experience, in addition to mutual recognition for the ability to get involved in the proposed paths and reflections, gratitude was expressed to the FMA Community of Turin who welcomed and made the participants feel at home.


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