Nizza Monferrato (Asti). In May, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Nizza Monferrato (Asti), of the Piedmontese Province of Mary Help of Christians (IPI), reopened to the public the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Nizza Monferrato (Asti), temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, joining the ‘Prayer Marathon’ : “Guided by shrines around the world in this month of May, we pray the Rosary to invoke the end of the pandemic and the resumption of social and work activities” (Pope Francis, General Audience, 5 May  2021).

The Shrine, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace and called by the people of Nizza Monferrato ‘the Madonna’, was purchased by Don Bosco on 12 October 1877. The date of opening the Shrine for worship on 27 October 1878, had the solemn blessing by the Director General of the FMA, Fr. John Cagliero, Salesian of Don Bosco, who celebrated the first Holy Mass in the presence of Mother Mazzarello.  This coincides with its establishment as the FMA Mother House of the  Institute, after the transfer from the House of foundation in Mornese.

Many important events for the FMA took place in the Shrine: the re-election of Mother Mazzarello as Superior General, the consignment of the printed Constitutions by Cardinal Cagliero, the election of Mother Daghero, the first General Chapter in 1884. Here the solemn funerals took place of Mother Mazzarello, Mother Daghero, Mother Luisa Vaschetti, Mother Elisa Roncallo, Mother Ersilia Canta, Mother Marinella Castagno, and Mother Antonia Colombo.

In the churchyard of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, in his last visit to the FMA on 23 August 1885, Don Bosco, by now worn out  physically, said: “Our Lady walks in this house and covers it with her mantle” (cf. Cronistoria V , 51-52). Mary walks in this house is the slogan that accompanies the Triennial of preparation for the 150th of Foundation of the FMA Institute  (1872-2022).

On  3 May  2021, the day dedicated to the Rosary for Sr. Teresa Valsè Pantellini, FMA, the prayer took place in the Shrine where the Venerable made her First Religious Profession and Perpetual Profession. This year also marks the 120 years of her entrance into the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

In the month of May, there are several significant dates according to Salesian tradition: on 9 May the birth of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello Co-Founder, together with Don Bosco, of the FMA Institute. She lived in Nizza from 1878 and died on 14 May  1881.

The FMA Community of Nizza celebrates the triduum of the Feast of Mother Mazzarello from 10 to 13 May giving the possibility to the population to participate with the Sisters in praying the Rosary and Vespers. On 14 May, the death of Mother Mazzarello is commemorated through the presentation of the online edition of the Salesian Map of Nizza.

In preparation for the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians, the Novena will be celebrated from 15 to 23 May with the prayer of the Rosary at 9:00 pm. The 15th and 23rd, opening and closing days, will be presided by Msgr. Paolino Siri, parish priest of Nizza Monferrato, and Vaglio Serra (AT). From 16 to 22, at 8:45 pm, the Rosary will be animated by the FMA communities, the students of Our Lady of Grace Institute in Nizza, the Salesian Cooperators, the FMA Past Pupils, Vides, the Don Bosco Choir, the Historical Archives Group, the Daytime Educational Center of the CISA Consortium – Asti south, and other groups.

On 24 May  2021 at 6:00 pm, Msgr. Paolino Siri will preside over the solemn Eucharistic celebration in honor of Mary Help of Christians for all the faithful. The celebration can be followed on the YouTube Channel and the Facebook Page of the Historical Archive FMA-IPI.


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