Argentina. “En nuestra lengua. Cartas de María D. Mazzarello en español de América” (In our language. Letters of Mary D. Mazzarello in Spanish of America) is the title of the book published in digital edition by Don Bosco Editions Argentina, with translation and revision of the notes of Ana María Fernández, Argentine Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, and collaborators.

 “Mary Mazzarello would certainly have liked to speak to each of her Sisters in their own language to make them better understand her love, her personal and community invitation to holiness, to help them rekindle their apostolic ardor and their great love for the good Jesus and for Mary Most Holy. Reading a text in your own language has a particular flavor.”

These are the words of Sister Silvia Boullosa, Provincial of Laura Vicuña Province (ARG), who in the presentation of the book explains that the edition, 150 years after the first letters of Mother Mazzarello (1874), does not replace the note, “The Wisdom of Life”, but is an attempt to get closer to American Spanish. “The Institute in Latin America has endeavored to translate the collection of letters into its inherited ‘Spanish’, enriched with ancestral roots and migratory contributions, and thus made its own. We know, translating is a bit betraying, and will never be like reading the original, but the effort is always worth it. Even if we could understand one letter better, we would be satisfied.”

In the introduction, Sister Ana María Fernández explains the journey of the Letters in Spanish:

“The Letters of Mary Mazzarello were first published in Spanish in 1979 by the Ediciones Don Bosco of Barcelona-Sarriá, under the title Cartas de Santa María Dominga Mazzarello, Cofundadora del Instituto de las Hijas de María Auxiliadora. It was an accurate bilingual edition based on the first complete Italian publication of 1975. The translation also included the Preface by Cardinal Gabriel Maria Garrone, the Introduction and notes by María Esther Posada, the Tables and indicative indexes. There was no indication of those responsible for the translation.

In 1994, there was published in Turin by the Società Editrice Internazionale, the third Italian edition of the epistolary, with significant clarifications in the text of the letters based on comparison with the original and accompanied by new studies on the figure and spirituality of the Saint. A new edition was also produced in Spanish, presented to the public the following year, 1995.

This text follows the novelties of the Italian counterpart since the evocative title, ‘La sabiduría de la vida. Cartas de María Dominica Mazzarello’, edited by Maria Esther Posada, Ana Costa and Piera Cavaglià, and includes all the contributions that precede and follow the Letters recently published in Italy. The edition, realized by the Salesian Catechetical Center of Madrid, also includes an Introduction by Ornella Confessor and the Index of the first edition. The translation is by Teresa Nieva and Elia Mata, Spanish FMA.”

Was a new translation needed?

“We think so for two reasons. On the one hand, the subsequent studies carried out on the same letters, their recipients, dates, places, and various situations in which they lived their mission, has led to a better understanding of the texts themselves, to accentuate some traits of Mary Mazzarello and gave rise to the introduction of new notes.

On the other hand, there was a need for a translation into Spanish according to the current use of the language in the countries of America and that better reflected the modulations of the ‘voice’ of Mary Mazzarello”.

In addition, as the curator specifies, the work has allowed insights and new clarifications that shed light on the entire correspondence or on some letters in particular, such as that Sister Vittoria Cantù was not a sister any of the communities of Villa Colón, but the Vicar of Las Piedras (L 42; 56; 63), or that Sister Maria Sampietro in April 1880, was not in Saint Cyr, but in Alassio (C 36).

A detail embellishes the edition, dedicated to dedicata a sister María Esther Posada, who died on 2 December 2023. It is the insertion after letter No. 60 to the novice, Sister Rita Barilatti of Buenos Aires, of a Christmas prayer card that reads only the name of the Sister, written by hand by Mother, as a testimony of a doubly ‘maternal’ language.

At the end of her Presentation, Sister Silvia Boullosa thanks “those who have done the work or who have contributed with corrections and suggestions to make Spanish as ‘American’ as possible: Sr Ana María Fernández (ARG), Sr Marianela Fernández Alfaro (CAR), Sr María Cristina Villegas (CBC), and Sr Liliana Montaño (CBN), Sr María Luisa Nicastro, Secretary General of the Institute, who approved and encouraged the edition, and dear Mother Chiara, who blessed it in a special way”.

The volume was presented on 9 May 2024, the day of the birth of Mother Mazzarello, in an online meeting conducted by the Vicar of the Province ARG, Sister Silvia Moraga, with the Provincial and the curator, Sister Ana María Fernández.

Link to the video presentation

Presentation PPT

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