Rome (Italy). On 12 May 2021, the eve of the Solemnity of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), sends a message to the FMA, young people, and the Salesian Family.
“I am very happy to be able to meet you, my dear FMA sisters, but also all of you young people, lay people, collaborators, parents, members of the Salesian Family who are connected with our digital channels to wish everyone
Happy feast of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello!
It is beautiful to be together to celebrate the holiness of Mary Domenica from whom everything was born, who knew how to be so docile to the Holy Spirit as to give rise, with Don Bosco, to a new way of being consecrated women, educators in the Church, of creating communities where joy is contagious and the synergy of different vocations becomes a shared wealth.
With purely human criteria, no one would have gone to look for a Co-founder in that village that was and is Mornese, in a group of young peasant women, good Christians, but without any kind of pedagogical culture, if not the one they had learned from the wisdom of their parents.
Yet Mary Help of Christians prepared the first stones of her living monument right there, in that poor reality, but rich in human values and open to the gifts of God. God always chooses what is small, humble, poor to start great things. He does so today as well!
The gift of a life
This year we are celebrating the 140th anniversary of the death of Mother Mazzarello. It is an anniversary that made me think a lot about the gift of her life for the life, the holiness of the Institute. But it seems to me that the gift of her life goes back a long way, before that 1881.
Mary Domenica, a young lay woman, puts her life in the hands of God when she accepts to go to care for relatives suffering from typhus, but even more, when convalescing, she prays to be forgotten by everyone except God. Here is rooted her total openness to the Spirit and to His actions. […]
All for God and for the young
If until then she never possessed herself, if not to be at the service of the family, the parish, the people of the town. From now on, her way will no longer belong to her radically. It will be entirely for the world of youth, so that young people may know and love Jesus and thus be happy in time and for eternity. Her creativity, her courage, her resourcefulness will all be spent for this goal.
She dies to one life project, cherished for a long time but only human, to be reborn to a new one, which will become clear over time […]. It is already the gift of life, without losing it materially, but entrusting it without hesitation and without limits to God’s plan. Her love for Jesus was a fire in her heart and nothing and no one could put it out.
Mary Domenica will again hand over her life to God every time this project will reveal itself to her in all its unpredictability and will ask her to go where perhaps she would not want, always against the tide.
One step after another … until Heaven
She would never have imagined that the vision of Borgo Alto, the voice of Our Lady who said “I entrust them to you” could contain the anticipation of a reality, which slowly materialized through Don Bosco, but also due to maneuvers that were not always linear on the part of those who did not want a Salesian boys school in Mornese.
She had never thought of leaving Mornese to be able to give broader horizons to the birth of the Institute in which she was cooperating. Neither could she have imagined having to live with a suitcase in one hand and a pen in the other to reach her daughters who were beginning to cross the borders, not only of Piedmont, but also of Italy, Europe, and America. […]
I invite myself and you on this feast, to return in heart and mind to the day when for the first time we understood that God and Mary Help of Christians were asking us for our whole life at the service of the Kingdom and we said yes.
This question also applies to young people, the laity; it is enough to be Christians to be called to hand over our existence to God for the realization of His plan of universal salvation, of His plan of love for eternity. “There is no greater love than giving one’s life for his friends,” said Jesus. Then surely the yes was joyful, mixed with enthusiasm and a desire for radicalism. […]
Mother Mazzarello accompanies us in this renewed commitment of total surrender of ourselves to God, guiding us in the choice of means to be implemented, works and activities to offer to young people, in radical availability to the divine plan for each one, for the Institute, for the Church, for the world. May Mary Domenica help young people who are looking for a way to give their lives for other young people not be afraid to trust Jesus and to allow themselves to be attracted by His love for them.
Again happy feast to all and to each one. It marks the beginning of a new journey of Salesian holiness in the joy of knowing that we are always accompanied and protected by Mary Help of Christians!
Rome, 12 May 2021
Sr. Yvonne Reungoat
Superior General of the FMA Institute”