Shillong (India). From 15 March to 20 April 2024 in Shillong, at the new Provincial House “Auxilium” of Immaculate Heart Province of Mary (INS), members of the English Translation Group (ETG) from five continents met for the annual meeting: Sister Patricia Finn (AFM), Sister Isabel Geraghty (GBR), Sister Jemella Joseph (ING), Sister Edna Mary MacDonald (SPR), Sister Judith Suprys, currently in Rome in the Generalate and representative of the SEC Province.

During the 1996 General Chapter, the Provincials of the English-speaking Provinces asked the Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Antonia Colombo, to be able to set up a group of FMA that would take care of the translations from Italian to English. They wanted to have a representation of the five continents, so as to form a group of translators who could agree on a common English vocabulary for all contexts. In 1998, therefore, the group was formed now called ETG (English Translation Group). Story of ETG

Upon arrival in Shillong, the group was greeted with a warm welcome according to Indian tradition by the Provincial Community, the FMA who live there the intensive year of Temporary Profession, boarding schools, and pre-Aspirants. The huge campus where the House “Auxilium” is located is on top of a hill of Shillong, surrounded by many houses and buildings, an aspect that allowed them to observe everyday life. During the day, the school campus resonated with the voices of the many educators and pupils from kindergarten to secondary school, engaged in various educational and recreational activities.

The Provincial Sister Elizabeth George, who invited the group to hold the ETG meeting in Shillong, made available to them the meeting room of the provincial council equipped with state-of-the-art devices and a small chapel with the Blessed Sacrament. The day began with prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist with the Community, while in the evening the group gathered in the small chapel.

After translating other texts, in the last decade it was decided to focus on the biographies of the Mothers General. So far, five have been translated. The meeting of these days had as its objective the translation of the life of Mother Angela Vespa (1958-1969).

Once the working methodology had been agreed, the FMA set to work. Each morning began with a prayer for the translators, which set the tone for the day. Each member had already translated her part of the assigned text, which had already been sent to the others for the first corrections. During the meeting, a small part of the translated text was read, while another member of the group followed the Italian version. Each took notes on what had been read and at the end they shared any suggestions, while another Sister inserted the corrections in the text. This first careful reading took the group almost two weeks. The same process was followed for the second and third revision of the text. It took five weeks to complete the work.

This first draft was sent to the Generalate to Sister Francesca Scibetta, head of graphic design, for formatting. The group now awaits the formatted text which, once revised, will be sent to India for printing and distribution in the Provinces that requested it. They also determined the cost of the book cover, the introduction to the text, the letter to the Provincials, the order forms for the book.

The five Sisters also had the privilege of participating together in the celebrations of the Easter Triduum, having a wonderful experience. On Easter Sunday, the two communities on the same campus gathered to share lunch with the different groups who live and work there, including domestic staff, drivers, gardeners, etc. It was a true Salesian family experience. With their kindness and fraternity, the Sisters were impeccable and attentive to every need of the guests.

In the little free time, the group visited the Don Bosco Center for Indigenous Cultures in the North-East of India, which documents the various and rich cultures of this region of the Country. They also enjoyed the natural beauty of Cheerapunji, a region known for the most consistent rainfall in the world, where they could admire at least one of the beautiful waterfalls and explore the Mawsmai Cave dug out of the water.

In a time marked by globalization and the multiplication of conflicts, the experience of the ETG group is a sign of hope, a testimony of the creativity and commitment of many FMA eager to make the charismatic wealth of the Institute available to others.


  1. Auguri, care sorelle dell’ETG! Vi ringrazio della vostra bella e preziosa missione a servizio dell’Istituto. Il vostro è davvero un lavoro “sinodale” dove con pazienza e sapienza camminate insieme e vi sostenete a vicenda nell’affrontare le fatiche delle traduzioni. Da questa casa benedetta vi saluto e vi ricordo a madre Mazzarello. Sr. Piera Cavaglià IPI

  2. We have been enriched by their presence in our community at Auxilium Provincial House, Nongthymmai – Shillong. May God bless their endeavours!


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