Rome (Italy). On 24 January 2022, the Novices of the International Novitiates Sr. Teresa Valsè Pantellini of Rome and Mary Help of Christians of Castel Gandolfo, the Post-novices of Rome, Community of St. Tarcisio, and the young Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and Salesians of Don Bosco, met in Rome at the Parish Church of St. John Bosco to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis de Sales with the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Fr. Ivo Coelho, SDB, General Councilor for Formation.

Present were Sr. Nilza Fátima de Moraes, FMA, General Councilor for Formation, with some General Councilors. At the end of the Eucharist, the young women lived a time of encounter with the FMA and SDB Councilors for Formation.

A Novice recounts the impressions and contents of the evening, whose common points “were goodness and sweetness, embodied in a person whose life is defined precisely by these characteristics: St. Francis de Sales.

The celebration was preceded by an informal moment, an opportunity to meet again, even if only ‘half face’, to talk but also to get to know each other and, in simplicity, the Councilors present, who have just started their mission.

It was not taken for granted to be there together, on the day of celebrating the Saint whom Don Bosco chose as a model for our delicate mission in the midst of young people. Fr. Ivo Coelho and Sr. Nilza Fátima de Moraes recalled this in their greetings at the end of the celebration.

It was a simple moment of presentation and sharing of experiences with a slightly broader look at reality; a moment, stressed Sr. Nilza to be surprised by the gift of a life which, constantly and freely, is given to us by the hands of a God who is a Good Shepherd and who, in the daily newness, confronts us with the challenge of forming in ourselves a docile spirit in learning everything. It is a docility that is formed by having the courage to look within ourselves, to ask questions.

By cultivating a double listening to the interior dimension and the variegated reality that surrounds us, Fr. Ivo suggested we can be a witnessing presence in disparate cultural contexts, even in those in which the name of Christ cannot be explicitly proclaimed. Yet it is precisely there that, following the example of St. Francis de Sales, that we are called to make ourselves welcoming mothers and fathers, close, so that in every part of the world, we can approach each one as sisters and brothers. This is possible by loving with the heart of Christ”.

Sr. Nilza, in concluding her talk, resumed the prayer of the Collect, “God wanted Saint Francis de Sales to be everything to everyone” and invited those present to ask God, through the intercession of the Patron Saint of the two Salesian Congregations, “The grace of always bearing witness to the sweetness of His love in the service of our brothers and sisters, in doing everything to everyone with the style of Salesian loving kindness”.


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