Rome Italy). Close to the Solemnity of All Saints, on 1 November 2022, we publish the Message of the Superior General of the FMA Institute, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, made on the occasion of the Holy Ween, prayer moment broadcast online on 30 October 2022.

Dearest Sisters,

I have been asked to dwell with you on the meaning of holiness. What is holiness for me, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians; what is holiness in our Institute; in what does it consist? I think first of all, the holiness to which we are called is an ordinary holiness. We deduce this by reviewing the genesis of the work, of the vocation of Don Bosco and also of Mother Mazzarello. For Don Bosco, for Valdocco, holiness was of home. But even in Mornese, holiness was lived as a daily, normal attitude; an ordinary holiness that touches everyone’s life, to which we are all called. A holiness tailored to the measure of the person, human.

Already this year’s Strenna led us to deepen this topic, because we have seen that for St. Francis de Sales, there is precisely this mediation, passing on the concept of holiness, which at the time was seen in the Church as something aristocratic, of the nobility, only for some spirits. Instead, with St. Francis de Sales it is rediscovered as a fundamental element in the Christian life.

Thus, for Mother Mazzarello holiness is almost an anxiety, clearly a positive anxiety, but when she writes to the sisters, she often underlines this vocation to holiness; this living day by day with courage, because we must become holy and rich in so many merits since life passes quickly, because our life is not long lasting, and in Mornese this was an everyday experience.

At that time this, connection to eternity was for Mother Mazzarello the way to illumine ordinary life. Therefore, ordinary life had a prolongation in the thought of eternity. But above all, holiness is living in the presence of God, feeling inhabited by Him and dwelling in Him, and therefore permeating all daily activity with the sense of God. It is living with Him, acting with Him, and for Him.

When we think of Mother Mazzarello, we run the risk of thinking her too elevated. It is enough to reread some Letters in which she talks about the inner struggle, about defects.  For example, when she says, “We do not want daughters who are without defects, but who do not make peace with defects,” she herself consoles the sisters who struggle more by saying, “See, I too I know what it means.” She puts herself on the human level, giving her understanding to those who find it hard to undertake this path of holiness. It is a holiness that passes through everyday activities, that synthesizes fraternal life and prayer with the mission. She summarizes relationship with God with relationship with others, with community relationship, with educational relationship, with young women and children entrusted to us.

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