Rome (Italy). The General Council of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), at the conclusion of the Plenum in an unusual period, sends a choral message to the FMA, to the laity, to young people, and to the members of the Salesian Family.
Mother General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, and the Councilors lived this Plenum – a time of prayer, reflection, dialogue-sharing, and discernment in preparation for General Chapter XXIV – in an unusual period, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, “in tune with the whole world that suffers, lives the uncertainty and serious challenges of the present moment”.
The prolonged time waiting for GC XXIV becomes for all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians an opportunity to study the theme ‘Do whatever he tells you (Jn 2:5). Communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity’: “we are invited to enter into the depth of the content that the theme offers us to rediscover and live with greater awareness our being together as educational, generative communities.” (Circ. 985)
The General Council shares the resonances of the online meeting lived on 7 October 2020 with Prof. Chiara Giaccardi of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, who together with her husband, Prof. Mauro Magatti, has been studying the topic of generativity from different perspectives. Giaccardi dealt with the theme of generativity “in the light of the Magisterium of Pope Francis and the pandemic, as a space in which God speaks to us and challenges us”.
Generativity as a “dynamic force that takes us beyond ourselves and makes us do things we did not think we were capable of” is a call that “helps to rediscover the vocation to be fruitful and thus bring a new contribution to the world for the good of all.” For the FMA, religious and educators, it is a call to be generators of life and hope in the current context of hardship and suffering of so many young people and families.
The General Council indicates a “generative path” taken from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of Pope Francis (no. 24), consisting of five verbs that can lead the Educating Communities to be increasingly generative: take the initiative, get involved, accompany, bear fruit, celebrate.
The Circular recalls recent ecclesial events, prophetic signs and expressions of generativity: the Beatification of Carlo Acutis, the relaunch of the Global Pact for Education, the signing of the Encyclical Letter “Fratelli tutti”.
Youthful holiness, which is reflected in the path of light of adolescents who make up the young face of the Church – including Domenic Savio, Laura Vicuña, Zeffirino Namuncurá, Juan Barrera Méndez of Guatemala who will be beatified shortly – “is an expression of the generativity of the faith that can transform young people and adults and renew hope in a humanity capable of speaking the language of fraternity”.
Holiness is a gift of God and the fruit of an integral educational proposal that involves people and institutions and environments and requires the synergy of resources and skills to regenerate society. It is the fruit of the environmental pedagogy proper to the Salesian charism, in which all are actors in an educational process based on relationship. Education is a way of development and social change. In the encyclical on fraternity and social friendship, the Pope indicates ideals and concrete ways to build a more just and fraternal world.
The present moment, full of uncertainties and challenges, is therefore a prophetic call and a propitious time to undertake new educational paths: “We are living in an extraordinary historical moment of generativity, because a germ of new life is contained in difficulties and in the crisis. It will be able to give a renewed impulse to the mission of Salesian educators in communion with one another and with the world ”.