Rome (Italy). The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Yvonne Reungoat, sends a message to all the Educating Communities and the Salesian Family, wishing an Easter of Hope and Resurrection.
“It is a time when the Educating Communities are called to stay at home, to experience intense prayer, a serene and joyful fraternity. It is an opportunity to rediscover the value of the essential that ‘urges us to take seriously what is serious, not to get lost in trivial things; to rediscover that life is of no use if it is not used to serve. Because life is measured by love’ ” (Pope Francis, Homily on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020).
Here is the entire text of the Message of the Mother General of the FMA Institute.
I desire to feel in deep communion with all of you, to meet you all over the world, to share what I carry in my heart in this time that prepares us to live the Paschal Mystery of Jesus: mystery of death and resurrection.
We are about to celebrate an unprecedented Easter, marked by a dramatic situation due to the Pandemic from Covid-19 that has caused a strong impact on all countries. Faced with this unpredictable and upsetting situation, fear, panic and bewilderment can invade our hearts, our feelings and, all of a sudden, make us sense the weight of our fragility and vulnerability and also the weight of our sin.
We are faced with the mystery of life that we believed we could manage according to our programs and projects, relying on the progress of science, sometimes far from God, the Author of life. A few months were enough to see all the certainties collapse and ask ourselves if the Lord is present among His people who are suffering from the power of a small and powerful virus.
I think we all understand the value of silence during the reality of this test that humanity must face; feel the need to be strengthened and confirmed in faith, and find the strength to believe that the Risen Christ is here and that His presence is not lacking.
The words of Pope Francis are comforting: “Today, in the tragedy of the pandemic, in the face of so many certainties that crumble, in the face of so many expectations betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that grieves our hearts, Jesus says to each one: ‘Courage, open your heart to my love. You will feel the consolation of God who sustains you’.” (Homily, Palm Sunday, 5 April 2020). This certainty pacifies our hearts and gives us the strength to understand that Jesus is living His Passion today in many brothers and sisters, in numerous families and religious communities tried by the illness or death of their loved ones.
Jesus asks us to know how to accompany Him along the way to Calvary, to then move on with Him to the new life of the resurrection. Our life is flooded with resurrection, because we are redeemed by the extreme act of love of the Son of God who did not hesitate to die on the cross to show us how great is the good He wants for all of us.
At a time when our communities, all of us are called to stay at home, we can experience the value of intense prayer, of a peaceful fraternity even if, at times, it is not easy. We have the opportunity to discover the value of the essential that ‘urges us to take seriously what is serious, not to get lost in trivial things; to rediscover that life is of no use if it is not used to serve. Because life is measured by love’ (Homily of Pope Francis mentioned above).
These are moments in which faith and hope are deeply intertwined and strengthen our vocation, called to be a prophecy of communion and a sign of solidarity in this particular time.
I tell myself and each of you that this is the time to be Easter women, willing to let ourselves be loved by God in the way He decides; to serve with love the sisters and every person reachable with the means possible to us, to be close to those who suffer from solitude, and to those who await even a word of consolation and comfort. Who knows how many people expect a word from us, a phone call, a prayer that can alleviate their suffering!
Easter women because we keep the intentions of all humanity in prayer; of those who are sick, of those who pay with their lives to save those of others, of those who die alone, and there are many!
Easter women who look with the same gaze of Jesus at His beloved poor, those who cannot protect themselves from the risk of contagion, who are deprived of everything, who suffer from hunger, and who are left to themselves.
The joy of Easter this year, so different from the previous ones, finds its deep root in these small and important gestures of charity supported by an unshakable hope that accompanies every rebirth. With Jesus we experience that Love is stronger than death.
Easter women who know how to be grateful for the solidarity witnessed in various ways by different people. I think of how many brave young people, known or unknown to you, donate their time as volunteers and decide to be close to sick people with the same attitude as the good Samaritan; young people who with their freshness and awareness say that ‘everything will be well!’.
Grateful for adults who competently do not shy away from the ‘duty’ of giving their best to its extreme consequences. How much testimony of humanity, faith, and hope emerged in this time of great trial; the truth of a people capable of going beyond differences to embrace others in need has come to light!
In this particular climate, I wish you all to penetrate the message that the Risen Jesus gives us today and that we want to value, and not overlook. Certainly He wants to tell us something new, and leaves us the freedom to understand it with the light we invoke from the Holy Spirit. Jesus helps us to open up to the newness of the future because after this crisis, nothing will be as before. Change must come first in our people and in every community. Let’s open up to the mystery of the transition from death to life!
Dear sisters, to you, your family members, members of the Salesian Family, and to every loved one, young and old, I wish you a Holy Easter of Resurrection and Hope. I sincerely thank you for the many wishes that have come to me. I would like to answer everyone personally, but it is not possible for me. I am doing it here now, assuring my gratitude that turns into constant prayer.
May the Risen One be our peace, our joy, our strength, and help us to let ourselves be touched by the sufferings of humanity to bring them to the One who gives certain hope.
May Mary who knew suffering, supported by a strong faith, be close to all humanity and accompany us in this hour of grace.
The Lord of Life bless you and in Him feel my affection, trust, and gratitude.”
Rome, April 9, 2020
Sister Yvonne Reungoat
Superior General FMA Institute