Rome (Italy). The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, shares a reflection regarding the relationship of the FMA with the Past Pupils.
The Past Pupils Association of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians at the end of July 2021, celebrated the VII International Congress. On 31 July and 2 August 2021, the Ordinary Assembly took place with the election of the new Confederal Council and on 16 August, the President and the Vice-President were elected. These events took place in the context of the preparation for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the FMA Institute, and on the eve of the XXIV General Chapter of the FMA Institute.
Mother Yvonne Reungoat recalls the relationship, affection, and collaboration in sharing the Charism with the Past Pupils, who make up the Group of the Salesian Family closest to the FMA, because they are formed in their educational environments:
“They assimilated the spirit that we tried to communicate to them through our personal and community life, in the Educating Communities. They constitute a precious multiplying resource of the Salesian charism in the places where they live and work”.
Mother invites the FMA to deepen their commitment in preparation for GC XXIV to be “communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity”, reflecting on their daily life to realize that they have “generated much life”, sowing values and a desire for commitment and service in the fundamental years of education.
The Association, which expresses itself autonomously with its own Statutes and its own government, is at the same time in a reciprocal relationship with the FMA who promote it and take care of its spiritual animation. In the recent revision of the Statute, the Past Pupils wished to emphasize their networking with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
The journey of the Association founded in 1908, sees the presence of FMA Past Pupils increasingly active and qualified in the field of finance, social life, politics, in response to the current challenges regarding the care of the person and creation, which guarantee the presence of the “spirit of Mornese” and are spent in educational and pastoral activities, “with the joy of giving, in turn, what they have received.”
A characteristic of the Association is also its multicultural and multi-religious face, since, as stated in the first article of the Statute, “it includes without ethnic, social, cultural, religious distinctions Female and Male Past Pupils … who inspired by the charism of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello share the purpose and identity expressed in the Identity Document and in the Charter of the Salesian Family”.
For the FMA Institute, present in countries where Catholics constitute a minority, being able to count on Past Pupils who share and spread with their lives the values assimilated in the educational realities of the FMA is a “sign of hope for the world, because it is an evangelical leaven that can transform cultures and peoples from within”.
Mother Yvonne Reungoat invites the FMA and the Educating Communities to deepen their knowledge of the World Confederation “Mornese” of FMA Past Pupils to acquire an awareness of its charismatic, social, and ecclesial value, and to effectively propose belonging to it to adolescents and young people, especially to those who want to form a family, encouraging local Federations and Unions to give priority to this dimension with initiatives and formation paths that respond to the real needs of families in their own context.
Mother also highlights the significance of choosing Province and Local FMA Delegates and urges the Provincials “to take into account those FMA who have had the most impact on the life of the young, both for their educational skills and for the joyful witness of evangelical and charismatic life”.
She also underlines that the commitment to open the perspective of the Past Pupils Association to the young people of the FMA realities is entrusted to the entire Educating Community, with the task of making the proposal, accompanying in discernment, favoring the maturation of the choice.
“Mary Help of Christians repeats to us ‘I entrust them to you’, also with reference to the Past Pupils. She entrusts them to us in a different way as children, adolescents, young adults, but asks us to continue to be her maternal presence at all ages of life. I am sure that if She sees us working with joy and educational creativity in this field, She will welcome it as a further testimony of our thanks for Her protection in the 150 years of the Institute’s life that we are preparing to celebrate”.