Ljubljana (Slovenia) On Sunday 4 September 2022, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Slovenian-Croatian Province Mary Help of Christians (SLC) celebrated the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute in Ljubljana, in the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Rakovnik.
The Province prepared for this anniversary in communion with the Institute, following the itinerary proposed for the three years and especially with an intense spiritual journey in the three weeks that preceded 5 August. Gratitude to God, to Mary Help of Christians, and to all the sisters who lived faithfully and dynamically the Charism entrusted to the Founders, was expressed in the celebrations lived in harmony with the expressions of Mother General, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, who wrote, “We celebrate the fidelity of God who accompanied the life and mission of all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and of the educating communities in the world”.
The date of 4 September was chosen to express the choral thanks, because it coincided with the beginning of the new pastoral year and gave the possibility of meeting in greater numbers as a Provincial Community.
The Eucharistic Celebration, was presided over by the Provincial of the Slovenian Province of Saints Cyril and Methodius (SLO), Fr. Marko Košnik, and concelebrated by Fr. Tihomir Šutalo, Provincial of the Province of St. John Bosco (CRO), by other Salesians of the Slovenian and Croatian Provinces, and by the priests with whom the FMA collaborate. It was an occasion for giving thanks for the loyalty of the Jubilee Sisters, Sr. Marta Zadravec and Sr. Anica Žagar, who celebrated their 50th anniversary of religious profession, and Sr. Lucija Nastran who celebrated her 25th. Relatives, friends, benefactors, and members of the Salesian Family were present.
The Eucharist and the renewal of vows were celebrated in an intertwining of Croatian and Slovenian languages, while the final hymn “O qual sorte” was sung with enthusiasm in the language of the Founders, arousing an explosion of joy for all present.
In his homily, the Provincial invited us to be attentive to the action of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of renewal, who needs humility, openness, and gratitude. He underlined that this is the propitious time for collaboration, especially within the Salesian Family, and thanked the FMA who have contributed in various ways to make Salesian vocations grow, both in the years in which they were engaged in the Salesian Houses of Don Bosco, and with prayer and pastoral commitment in later times.
Young people, today more than ever, need the example of men and women who know how to collaborate with each other. The Provincial invited in a particular way to hope, underlining God’s fidelity, because He entrusted the Charism to the FMA, in continuity with Don Bosco and Mary Domenica Mazzarello.
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Institute, the SLC Province edited and published the translation of the Letters of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello, both in Slovenian and Croatian, to maintain and strengthen the bond with the charismatic roots. This was a gift for the celebrated FMA, gathered in the premises of the Salesian parish of Rakovnik before the Eucharistic Celebration who, in a family atmosphere, spent a few hours with the Provincial, Sr. Marija Mojca Šimenc.
The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the SLC Province was also followed by the media: Vatican Radio, the Catholic Radio Ognjišče, the Catholic weekly Družina, the Media Office in the Diocese of Varaždin in Croatia, in collaboration with the TV channel Laudato, and social media networks accompanied the event, leading many people closer to the Charism of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and bringing a vocational message.