Calcutta (India). From 2 to 13 May 2023, Sr. Celine Jacob, Visiting Councilor of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, made a brief visit to Mary Help of Christians Province of Calcutta (INC).

On 2 May 2023, she was welcomed at the airport by the Provincial, Sr. Leelamma Palliparambil and, upon her arrival at the Provincial House, she was given a “Laudato Si'” welcome at the entrance, with three “kuthuvilkku”, the Indian ceremonial lamps. She was then accompanied to the chapel with a dance for a moment of prayer and was invited to light the lamp as an expression of welcome, joy, and gratitude.

Subsequently, Sr. Celine Jacob met the Provincial Councilors through a multimedia platform, to whom she illustrated a series of characteristics necessary to guide the Communities and the Province in a synodal style. Sr. Celine met most of the FMA in various groups and in different areas of the Province, such as Calcutta, Ranchi Delhi, and Northern Bengal. She briefly illustrated the Acts of GCXXIV and the three priority choices, recommending that we take care of ongoing formation for personal and community renewal, to improve interpersonal relationships, and to network in the perspective of integral ecology. Through small stories and concrete anecdotes, she focused on the importance of building synodal communities.

The meeting with Sr. Celine brought a renewed sense of responsibility and the need to “blow away the ashes and rekindle the fire of vocation” in the 14 Temporary Professed Sisters of the Province. The Visitor encouraged them to broaden their horizons to all that is Salesian life and to live it with joy, enthusiasm, sacrifice, a sense of belonging, openness, and above all to cultivate a deep intimacy with Jesus. The Novices also experienced a moment of dialogue with Sister Celine. With them she underlined human, emotional, and spiritual maturity and the three Salesian devotions: the Eucharist, Mary, and the Pope.

She also met the students of Dum Dum, Bandel, Kalyani, Barasat, Ranchi, R.K. Puram, and New Chumta, where she was warmly welcomed. She spoke with them of the importance of spiritual growth and intellectual development, highlighting the benefits of Salesian education, which focuses on the development of virtues and knowledge. She exhorted them to be agents of goodness and love in society.

Together with the Provincial, she visited the Community of Thecho, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Speaking to the children, Sr. Celine asked them to cultivate the virtues of charity, love, purity, and obedience. She also visited the three centers where the Sisters collaborate with the Jesuits in Jawalakhel, Don Bosco Lubhu, and Don Bosco Thecho.

On 11 May, Sister Celine was able to make a short visit to the tomb of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta and to the communities of Auxilium, Park Circus, and Gobra.

In the Goodnights that she had the opportunity to give, she recalled three tables – Eucharistic table, dinner table, and recreation table – highlighting Salesian spirituality based on devotion to the Eucharist and highlighting the importance of recreation to return to the original freshness, according to the priority choices of GC XXIV.

On the occasion of the solemnity of St. Mary Mazzarello and at the conclusion of the visit of Sr. Celine Jacob, a solemn Holy Eucharist was celebrated in the chapel of the Provincial House of Dum Dum, presided over by Fr. Pauria Joseph, Salesian of Don Bosco, Provincial of St. John Bosco Province (INC), with the Animators of the various communities of the Province, the Salesian family members, the men and women religious of the neighborhood, and the Educating Community of Auxilium Dum Dum.

In his homily, Fr. Pauria highlighted the virtues of Saint Mary Mazzarello and presented her as a person open to God’s grace that allowed her to work wonders. The Eucharistic Celebration was followed by a tribute to the Co-foundress of the FMA Institute and thanks to the Visiting Councilor. In her final message, Sister Celine invited all to always be cheerful following the example of Mother Mazzarello who, despite her sufferings and difficulties, remained cheerful, covering them with a smile and joy.

In the short time available, Sr. Celine Jacob, accompanied by the Provincial, Sr. Leelamma Palliparambil, visited 16 Communities with great availability and received almost all the Sisters of the Province, helping them to undertake personally and as a Community an active and passionate post- chapter journey, giving advice and accompanying them with care.

Photos: Flickr FMA


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