Madrid (Spain). In October 2021, the Educating Communities of Mary Help of Christians Province (SPA) celebrated with various initiatives, the opening of the year in which the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians occurs (5 August 1872 ).
On 5 August 2021, officially opening the 3rd Year of Preparation for the 150th from Mother Mazzarello’s Birthplace in Mornese, Mother Yvonne Reungoat wished:
“May the three years of preparation for the Jubilee anniversary help us to joyfully celebrate the fidelity of God and the presence of Mary Help of Christians that gave rise to the FMA Institute and continue to accompany its journey”.
Guided by the theme Planning the future boldly. “Courage! Let us go forward with a big and generous heart” (L 47,12), the Educating Communities of the FMA realities all over the world come together to express and renew the joy and gratitude of belonging to a great Family, to return to the roots of the Charism, and revitalize it in the today of history in the various contexts.
The 150th anniversary is also an opportunity to “involve the various expressions of the religious life of the Dioceses in which we find ourselves, the local Church, the educational and cultural institutions of the neighborhood or city, the Salesian Family in all its forms”.
In this context, on 23 October 2021, the Educating Community of Mary Help of Christians House of Cadiz joined the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the FMA in the city, with the 150th anniversary of the Foundation of the FMA Institute, organizing the 1st Salesian Popular Race of Cadiz on the beach.
The initiative was enthusiastically welcomed by the families of the School, with pupils from early childhood to secondary school, and by participants of all ages from the city and neighboring towns who joined with enthusiasm. A ‘flood’ of yellow T-shirts colored the beach, carrying the Salesian imprint and the spirit of solidarity that characterized the event. The proceeds go to the NGO Videssur, which promotes the right to education of boys, girls , young people, and women in poorer or developing countries.
On 24 October 2021, the Educating Community of Mary Help of Christians College in Villaamil – Madrid opened the 150th anniversary with a Eucharistic Celebration in which families, students, teachers, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and members of the Salesian Family Groups gathered to remember with gratitude the educational mission towards children and young people and especially the most needy, accomplished in the 150-year history of the FMA Institute. As the celebrant said in his homily, in every Salesian house “one evangelizes by educating and one educates by evangelizing”. And, taking up Don Bosco’s phrase in the logo of the 150th anniversary, he underlined: “Mary walks through the Villaamil House”.
The House of Sabadell organized a small celebration for the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the FMA Institute with the aim of making the event known to the people of the area, to the Past Pupils – some of them mothers of the children who attend the Salesian School of Don Bosco with whom the FMA of Mary Help of Christians Community collaborate, to the Salesian Cooperators, to the religious of the city, and to the families of the Hogares Don Bosco Movement. Word of mouth and the social media gathered more than 100 people who appreciated the initiative.
The College of Mary Help of Christians in Lugo celebrated the opening Eucharist of the 150th anniversary on 26 October 2021, also recalling the origins of the mission in Lugo, on 20 August 1990, with five FMA. Taking up the slogan of the Pastoral Proposal for the year 2021-2021 – “We are all Mornese” – the Animator of the FMA Community Mother Caterina Daghero, Sr. María Teresa Blázquez, expressed her best wishes to the Educating Community, “We are all Mornese, we are all a house with open doors, not only to welcome but also to go out, to meet those who need us.”
With a Eucharistic Celebration at the Parish of the Assumption and an event in the courtyard of the School, on 28 and 29 October 2021, the Educating Community of Valdepeñas, Ciudad Real, started the celebratory events of the 150th anniversary that will continue during the school year to nurture the atmosphere of celebration and gratitude. For the occasion, the commemorative banner with Mary and Mother Mazzarello was discovered and, animated by the 4th year students of O. L. of Sorrows Secondary School, the participants danced to the hymn of the 150th.
“Celebrating an anniversary does not aim at remembering only the past, even if it is important because our roots are there that must always be cultivated, but to project forward with new enthusiasm and a renewed choice of love to live our vocation with joy and in fidelity to the charism, a deepening of the sense of belonging to our Family which is the Institute and to the whole Salesian Family” (Message for the 3rd year of preparation for the 150th).