Rome (Italy). “An experience that we will always remember in life. We have received wonderful content that perhaps one day we will forget, but the lived experience cannot be erased; it has been and remains formative. This is true formation. It taught me to give less importance to words and more commitment to creating the climate”.

This is the expression of one of the participants that well summarizes what the 21 new provincials from all over the world experienced during the formation course held in Rome in the Generalate of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, from 9 to 21 January 2023, on the theme: “Put out into the deep and cast your nets… Towards a generative and synodal style of animation and government”.

The days were animated by the Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, and by the General Councilors, who proposed the contents in a workshop style and, above all, were present to share the total experience, which turned out to be beautiful, intense, familiar, and challenging.

The biblical icon that directed the days was the narration of the miraculous catch of fish in the Gospel of Luke (Lk 5:1-11), deepened by the masterly Lectio Divina held by Sr. Eliane Petri, FMA, Professor at the Pontifical Faculty of Sciences of Education “Auxilium”, which reread on this horizon the priority choices of General Chapter XXIV.

The Word of God was truly ‘fishing’ that allowed everyone to feel the presence of the Lord who encourages us not to be afraid, to put out into the deep, and cast out our nets together.

Some resonances:

“We sailed together on a section of the journey in a common boat. The words of the Mother and of each Sister, the presence expressed in attention to each other, in care, in mutual help, in gratitude, have been a daily learning space for me. Listening to the others, both in groups and in personal meetings, I reflected, I received a lot of light, inspiration for my service, for the different concrete situations I face every day. I was able to compare myself with my past experiences. I could check if what I was doing in my service was good, if it was the right direction. I also had the opportunity to thank for the many beautiful moments experienced during my service, my vocational journey. I was able to learn many new things. The experience of interculturality, of the multitude of colors of the charism embodied in the reality of different countries of the world, is unique and precious. This awareness, this experience helps a lot to live unity with the whole Institute and to cultivate the family spirit. The face of our Institute is the face of the sisters I have known and who are close to me”.

“It was a strong time of synodality and learning, which nourished the vigor of the charism, the willingness to live service”.

“The experience strengthened unity and the awareness that together we can take new paths and find courage in the certainty of being led by the Holy Spirit”.

“I had a recurring thought: The Institute is the work of God”.

“I appreciated the fraternity, the collaboration, the relationship style of Mother and of the Sisters of the General Council. The experience gave me courage and the conviction that synodality is possible”.


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