Rome (Italy). Be “generative communities” and “women of hope” is the message of Pope Francis to the participants in the XXIV General Chapter of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, on the theme “Do whatever He tells you. (Jn 2: 5) Communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity”, on 22 October 2021, at the FMA Generalate in Rome.
His presence was a truly ‘surprising’ and extraordinary gift for all the Chapter Members!
A prolonged applause from the Chapter Members welcomed the Pontiff as he entered the Chapter Hall of the FMA Generalate, immediately creating an atmosphere of welcome and gratitude.
Mother General, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, addressed a cordial greeting to the Pope, thanking him for his presence and expressing the joy of feeling “at home” with the Pope! She said, “We are almost at the end of our XXIV General Chapter in which we reflected on the theme “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2: 5). Communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity. The objective of GC XXIV is to reawaken the original freshness of the vocational fruitfulness of the Institute.
It was a very demanding process, and we are certain that the presence of Mary, Mother, Teacher, and powerful Help, guides us as it did in these 150 years of the history of the FMA Institute, and calls us to a regeneration in the Holy Spirit who makes our Educating Communities generative of new life.
As FMA, we feel the desire for a profound vocational renewal, to strengthen the joy and beauty of God’s call. The encounter with you today, Holy Father, is for us, for our Chapter, an invitation to have more vital strength, more enthusiasm, more evangelical courage in living the mandate that the Church entrusts to us.” Greetings Mother Chiara Cazzuola
Pope Francis with his simple and familiar style, addressed his word to the Chapter members. “In these days of work you followed the theme ‘Communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity,’ illuminating it with the words of Mary at the wedding at Cana ‘Do whatever He tells you’ (Jn 2: 5). It is the most beautiful gesture of Our Lady. Mary never puts herself in the light but rather always points to Jesus. Think about this; imitate the Blessed Mother and do the same”.
He encouraged the service carried out by the FMA throughout the world, especially in the current multicultural and multi-religious social context, marked by tensions and challenges, at times even dramatic, a time that is “fragile and uncertain”, wounded by numerous “forms of poverty that the current crisis has produced and multiplied.”
The Pope recommended immersing oneself in this complex scenario “rooted in Christ” and, above all, without ever giving in to the temptations of “spiritual worldliness, in its various forms”.
The Pope continues; This requires creative fidelity to the charism and it is for this reason that we must return to the charism and renew it. The charism “is a ‘living reality, not an embalmed relic’. It is life that creates and goes on and not a piece in a museum. So the great responsibility is to collaborate with the creativity of the Holy Spirit, to revisit the charism and ensure that it expresses its vitality today. It is the good wine that with the power of the Spirit helps to find new expressions of the same gift that is the charism, a charism that is the same for all, but different for all”.
Pope Francis also stressed the need to cultivate communities interwoven with intergenerational, intercultural, fraternal and cordial relations. “For this you can draw from your family spirit, which characterized the first community in Mornese, and which helps you to grasp in diversity an opportunity to welcome and listen, valuing differences as richness.”
He urged to continue working with other Congregations, trying to live relationships of reciprocity and co-responsibility, bearing witness to a concrete way of living synodality, with openness to the “novelties and surprises” of the Holy Spirit.
Be generative communities, “women of hope”, is the heartfelt appeal of Pope Francis to the Chapter Members. “You do it starting from the Salesian identity, with the Salesian style, especially by listening, active presence, love for young people”.
The extraordinary experience of the morning was lived by all in an atmosphere of universal fraternity. It was a great joy and richness that renewed in each one the impulse to be missionary communities, outgoing, reaching out to proclaim the Gospel to the peripheries, with the passion of the first Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.