Guaratinguetá (Brazil) In October 2020, month dedicated to the missions, Radio Carmo, the radio station of the “Colégio do Carmo” of Guaratinguetá – Province of Saint Catherine of Siena in San Paolo (BSP) – broadcast the interviews of some young people and missionaries invited to bring their missionary testimony.
On 28 October 2020, Sr. Teresa Cristina Domiciano, Dean of the School and host of the radio program ‘Walking with Mary’, interviewed Sr. Alaíde Deretti, Councilor for the Missions of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, who shared her experience in the Missions Sector.
A summary of the interview with Sr. Alaide Deretti:
Was the FMA Institute born as a missionary Institute or has it developed its missionary vocation over time?
Our Institute is educational-missionary. The missionary dimension is part of our identity, it is in our DNA. The Institute was only five years old when Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello sent the first FMA missionary expedition to South America. The first 6 sisters, all very young, did not know the reality of America, nor the Spanish language, but they were courageous, daring, and wanted to help people, the young people to feel loved by God as daughters and sons. Since that time, the Institute has grown and expanded rapidly in the 5 Continents.
How long have you been carrying out this service of animation? What challenges do you face? What joys?
I have been General Councilor for the Missions for 12 years. This service is for me a great mission, a grace from the Lord and a challenge: to animate the Institute present throughout the world, keeping the missionary fire alive in the heart of every FMA and of all the Educating Communities (EC). Being able to visit the different missionary realities in the world was and is a great joy! The opening of the EC to the mission ad gentes grows with commitment and missionary initiatives carried out together – sisters, young people, laity – through volunteer service, missionary weeks, animation of groups. These are the ‘surprises of God’ which over the years have spoken to me of an outgoing Church and Institute .
What is the First Proclamation?
The First Proclamation is one of the proposals brought forward as the Missions Sector of the FMA and the Missions Department of the Salesians of Don Bosco, through studies and insights on all Continents. It consists in arousing attraction for Jesus and making people want to know Him. We speak of the first proclamation, not because it is heard for the first time, but it is the moment in which, by the power of the Spirit, the human heart opens to the person of Jesus. For it to be effective, it is necessary to create an environment that arouses questions and awakens desire, thanks to testimonies of life, good relationships, a climate of listening and dialogue.
A message for the listeners.
I pray you may be the ‘Good News’ through witnessing in daily reality, participating with enthusiasm in missionary initiatives, with a quality presence that proclaims Jesus with His gaze, His gestures, His words. May we live the restlessness that makes us say with the apostle Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). May the Lord Jesus find in us an immediate and happy answer, like that of the prophet Isaiah: “Here I am, send me” (Is 6: 8).
Among the interviewees of the weekly program ‘Walking with Mary’, there is Sr. Metka Kastelic, FMA missionary originally from Slovenia, belonging to the Community of Mary Help of Christians in Araras (Brazil), who carries out the Salesian Work for Fraternal Aid (OSAF).
The initiative concluded with “live missionary”, animated by the students and young Past Pupils of the School who had lived a national and international missionary experience.