Rome (Italy). The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Chiara Cazzuola, in Circular No. 1039 of the month of June, dedicated to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, animates us to seize the invitation to start again from the heart and to “to discern every step of our journey of faith in the light of love, mercy, and tenderness.”

Recalling the announcement by Pope Francis at the end of the General Audience of 5 June 2024, of a new document on the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the 350th anniversary of the first manifestation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margeret Mary Alacoque, whose celebrations will end on 27 June 2025, defines the heart as “the place where the human creature meets God, in a unique and indescribable intimacy”. Citing some biblical expressions, she affirms:

“Contemplation of the Heart of Christ reminds us that trustful sequela, lived with daily fidelity, makes us serene women, capable of sowing around us gestures of tenderness, peace, and true charity.”

The Heart of Christ, source of apostolic charity

An example of the Daughter of Mary Help of Christians for whom charity is “a foundational and strategic value”, to which to give “priority over everything else,” can be found in Mother Caterina Daghero, the first successor of Mother Mazzarello recently celebrated in a Conference in Rome, on June 8, which, in the wake of the Co-founder, “does not theorize about education, but rolls up her sleeves and tries to give concrete answers to new historical and social needs.”

In fact, in her writings and expressions there is no lack of a call to charity, “the essential nucleus of the Salesian charism,” inspiring the Sisters, for example, to “be at the forefront of charity!” and telling them that “charity must be active,” to help them “to live the love that becomes communion and action in the community, so that it can be expressed effectively in the mission.”

For Don Bosco, ardent devotion to the Sacred Heart, soul of all his work and preaching, is first of all support “with supernatural help for the fulfilment of his arduous mission.” If the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Rome is a clear sign of this, it is above all in “active charity, which flowed from the impulse of the da mihi animas cetera tolle” the source of every apostolic inspiration and the effective manifestation of Don Bosco’s devotion.

Again with regard to apostolic charity, Mother Chiara recalls Article 7 of the Constitutions of the FMA Institute which speaks of the Preventive System as “an experience of apostolic charity that has its source the Heart of Christ Himself, and finds its model in Mary’s motherly care,” and the Acts of General Chapter XXIV, which highlights that the humanizing power of the Preventive System results in a presence among girls and boys, among young people, that “with the attention  paid to them stimulates creativity in their education and allows them to find new answers to situations that seem to have no way out”.

I leave you in the Heart of Jesus

In Mother Mazzarello one can see how the heart is “a sacred place, in which an intense encounter takes place between the person praying and the person of Jesus; a place where you can enter, you can dialogue, you can stay to pray, and also to build relationships with others.”

From this principle arise various expressions, contained in the Letters, through which Mother encourages the Sisters to learn “the language of the soul with God”; not to lose intimacy with Jesus – expressing oneself in prayer, if necessary, also in dialect – to agree to follow “the essential itinerary of one’s interiority: the long, patient passage from the mind to the heart, the center, not only of feelings, but of being.”

And again, for Mother Mazzarello, the Heart of Jesus is a place to place one’s worries to find relief and comfort; a place to meet with the Sisters, a bond of communion “so strong as to cancel distances” even when “an immense ocean” separates them.

She is also aware of the risk that the heart may become heavy with the weight of withdrawal on oneself, on one’s weaknesses and sins, imprisoning the energies of the soul. For this, “To trust in the Love of Jesus with spousal abandonment, to put everything in His Heart is for her the real invigorating ‘cure’ that helps to overcome the symptoms of malaise, due to the sense of discouragement and inadequacy.”

Mother Chiara summarizes as follows: “Mother Mazzarello also urges us to enter fully into the certainty that nothing and no one can ever separate us from the love of Christ Jesus; that only in His love, capable of infinite forgiveness, can we breathe the joyful Hope that broadens our hearts and minds to God’s horizons.”

And she leaves to all the FMA “the task of continuing to deepen the spirituality of Mother Mazzarello to grow in our knowledge of her and to renew today the vocational and missionary fruitfulness of Mornese in our very beautiful religious family.”

At the end of the Circular, she reminds us of the beautiful Salesian tradition linked to June 24, in which the Oratory of Valdocco celebrated the name day of Don Bosco. Thus, she turns to the Rector Major, “Don Bosco today”:

“We therefore join the Salesian Family in expressing our affectionate good wishes to the Rector Major, Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, whom we entrust to Mary Help of Christians, so that his mission at the service of the universal Church may be fruitful with good.”

She also recalls the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, inviting us to pray in a particular way for Pope Francis, “May the Lord grant him health and the wisdom of the Spirit so that he may continue to guide the Church with the efficacy of the Good Shepherd.”

From Sant’Agnello di Sorrento, in the province of Naples, where she is with the Sisters of the General Council for the Spiritual Exercises, she ends by assuring of her affectionate remembrance and prayers, especially for the communities that live in particular situations of criticality and suffering. She greets everyone with the words of Mother Mazzarello to Sister Angela Vallese and the Sisters of Villa Colón, “I leave you in the Heart of Jesus and I pray that He may bless you, make you all His, and keep you always united and cheerful.” (L 17:5).

Circular n° 1039


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