Slovenia and Croatia. On 19 February 2023, at the Salesian Parish of Mary Help of Christians in Rijeka, Croatia, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Mary Help of Christians Province (SLC) celebrated the 60th anniversary of the First Professions of three FMA, which took place after the Second World War, in the presence of the Superior General of the FMA Institute, Mother Chiara Cazzuola.
In 1936, the FMA arrived in the territory which was then called the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in Ljubljana, Slovenia and, in October 1940, in Split, Croatia. In a short time, there were 18 sisters distributed in three houses. With the onset of World War II, hard times began for them too. After 1945, the communist government ordered the closure of religious houses. The FMA were preparing to emigrate, like so many people at that time, but the Superior, Sr. Alojzija Domajnko, decided to stay, so that the female Salesian charism would remain alive in the country.
All the FMA, despite living for several years outside the Community, remained faithful to their religious vocation, until in October 1958 they were able to buy a house in Croatia, in Rijeka, to restart community life and the educational mission. Aspirants soon joined. In nearby Lovran, in the premises of the Salesian parish, the Novitiate was opened. On 24 January 24 1963, the first group of Novices made their first religious profession and, in August of the same year, two more FMA professed.
At the beginning of the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Provincial of the Croatian Province of St. John Bosco (CRO), Fr. Tihomir Šutalo, and concelebrated by the Provincial of the Slovenian Province of Saints Cyril and Methodius (SLO), Fr. Marko Košnik with other Salesians of Don Bosco, the children greeted Mother by giving her a bouquet of flowers. In addition to the young people, catechism students, families, members of the Salesian Family, and the parishioners, also present were the Provincial, Sr. Marija Šimenc, the Visiting Councilor, Sr. Maria Assunta Sumiko Inoue, Sr. Marija Pece, Slovenian, former Visiting Councilor, and some FMA.
After Communion, Mother Chiara addressed those present expressing her gratitude for the cordial welcome and best wishes to the 60th anniversary celebrations of Sr. Marija, Sr. Adela, Sr. Marija Ausilia; of the 50th of Sr. Anita Bostner; and the 25th of Sr. Danijela, Sr. Mateja, and Sr. Majda.
“History is the teacher of life” recalled Mother during the afternoon celebrations, remembering together with the FMA of the Province and the young women of the Period of Assessment and Guidance, the historical events and the Chronicle page of the Lovran Novitiate. “Every time we celebrate an event, we actually give thanks for the hand of God that has worked in our history, and we look to the future with hope, open to the journey that continues and to the surprises that the Lord has in store for us. (…) The present moment of your Province is full of hope.”
Mother Chiara Cazzuola was welcomed into the Provincial House of Ljubljana on 18 February, received with the signs of bread and salt, reserved for those arriving in Slovenia for the first time.
In the afternoon, she visited the Formation Community of Zagreb, Croatia, where “St. Joseph” patron saint of Croatia and of the FMA Community, and “Laura Vicuña”, protector of the university Hostel, were to receive her, played by two young people. Mother spent a fraternal moment with the Community and met the young people of the PAG, answering their questions on the identity of the FMA, on the filial relationship with Mary, and giving some advice to the young women in formation, above all to put Jesus at the center of their lives, listening to Him with their heart.
The hope that in that particular time of history, after the dark years of the war, was born with the first professions, is also reborn today with these new vocations and with the daily response of fidelity of each FMA of the SLC Province and of all the FMA present in the world.
Photos: Flickr FMA