Piedmont (Italy). From 1 to 28 July 2022, twenty Temporary Professed Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Middle East – Europe Interprovincial Conference (CIME), of the Preprovince Mary Mother of the Church (RMC) and of other Provinces of the world, lived in Piedmont (Italy), in Turin, Nizza Monferrato (AT), and Mornese (AL), the formative experience of the 2nd month of the Second Novitiate in preparation for Perpetual Vows. The month was animated by Sr. Paola Casalis, of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI), Sr. Eva Liskutinova, Mary Immaculate Province (CEL), Sr. Stefania Vivian of St. Mary D. Mazzarello Province (ITV).
The story of the Temporary Professed:
The experience of the Second Novitiate, lived together from 1 to 28 July 2022, helped us to remember the journey we have made in recent years and, at the same time, to look at our life with new eyes, to continue to grasp the newness of God’s call. The first great gift was the richness of fraternity lived together. We were 20 FMA from all parts of the world: East Timor, Ghana, China, Egypt, Syria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, United States, Canada, Italy.
We have been given a great opportunity, “to go back to the source” to “root our vocation more deeply” in the Gospel, so as to be able to give ourselves with more courage to Jesus for the salvation of the young.
Our pilgrimage began in Turin. Fr. Enrico Lupano, Salesian of Don Bosco, Responsible for welcoming pilgrims to Valdocco, invited us to listen to the words of the Spirit, taking on the role of the pilgrim who lets herself be questioned by the places she visits. In fact, the places somehow become ‘holy ground’ before which it is necessary to ‘take off one’s shoes’ because God inhabits it.
The time spent in Valdocco, Turin, Colle Don Bosco, Mondonio, Cascina Moglia, Castelnuovo, Chieri, and St. Ignazio di Lanzo was an opportunity to root our evangelical vocation more deeply and revive the reasons for living, as Don Bosco did, the mandate for the Kingdom in favor of the poorest young people.
The brief stop in Gavi and in Genoa, from whose port the first missionaries left, helped us to have grateful remembrance for all the Sisters who preceded us, bearing witness to the joy of following Christ and of giving ourselves completely to Him. Mother Mazzarello and the first sisters in Nizza and Mornese reminded us that the hardships, sufferings, and disappointments that accompany any journey must not make us forget the final goal towards which we are all headed, Paradise. We are called to live this experience already here on earth, trying to love each other in imitation of Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
We fixed our gaze on Him in the final stage of our pilgrimage, allowing ourselves to be provoked by the meditations of Fr. Cristian Besso, SDB, during the week of Spiritual Exercises at the Collegio of Mornese, on the theme “Do not let your heart be troubled” (Jn 14:1). At the school of St. Francis de Sales, a figure deepened by Fr. Cristian, we summarized the experience we lived together, seeking to reap the benefits.
In the stages of Nizza and Mornese, we were accompanied by Fr. Carlo Maria Zanotti, Sr. Paola Cuccioli, Sr. Elena Massimi, and we had the joy of having among us the General Councilor for Formation, Sr. Nilza Fátima de Moraes.
“[Salesian places are] places of the Gospel and daily miracles. We went there like someone going up a river in search of the source” (Working Document GC XXVII SDB).