Rome (Italy). The online meeting in preparation for GCXXIV took place on Sunday 9 May 2021, the anniversary of the birth of Maria Domenica Mazzarello.
The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, the General Councilors, Provincials, Superiors of Preprovinces, delegates to GCXXIV of the 74 Provinces and 5 Preprovinces of the FMA Institute present in the 5 continents participated. Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, Vicar General and Moderator of GCXXIV coordinated the meeting.
A meeting of knowledge and fraternity, guided by the Holy Spirit and by the memory of the Mornese origins that characterized the opening prayer on the theme of GC XXIV “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity.
In welcoming the participants, Mother General expressed the joy of being together: “For the first time we are together, all the FMA members of General Chapter XXIV. We wanted this moment to feel we are on the way together in the preparation for the celebration of the Chapter. The possibility of seeing each other makes our communion more concrete.”
And she shared her reflection: “The world situation created by the Covid-19 Pandemic did not allow the celebration of the XXIV General Chapter and it is hoped that it can be celebrated in Rome from 11 September to 24 October 2021. Pope Francis writes: ‘Right now, what we need is the opportunity to change, to make room so that the new something which is missing now can rise. Like when God says to Isaiah: ‘come and let’s discuss together. If you are willing to listen, you will have a great future’ (cf. Is.1: 18-20). (cf. POPE FRANCIS, Let’s dream again. The road to a better future, Casale Monferrato Piemme, 2020, Prologue).
How can we make the times of vocational fruitfulness flourish in our communities? Not only as FMA, but also as educators, as witnesses of the faith. How can we be a life-generating community in the heart of the world? We are called to let ourselves be inhabited by the Holy Spirit, to be available to His voice, to His light, to allow the Charism present in us, in our communities, to be a light that indicates an open path to the future for the young people of today in the whole world. The Holy Spirit helps us to lean on the founding values of an experience of Salesian holiness and to reread them, reinterpret them in the light of today’s newness.
Mornese was the ‘House of the love of God’. Home means relationship, love that circulates. And happiness is the fruit of love. Mary Domenica became a ‘home’ for the girls entrusted to her. Yesterday she taught her first sisters, and today she teaches us, her daughters, to be a home for young women of every time and place. This is the fundamental secret for communities to return to being generative, to generate a good human life, open to universal fraternity, to a joyful and holy Christian life, to pastoral availability so that all may have life in abundance, to a generous and joyful response to an eventual vocation to the life of FMA at home or in the missions ad gentes, in whatever commitment is entrusted, whatever the task to be carried out.”
After the presentation of the Presidents of the 9 Interprovincial Conferences CIAM, CIAO, CIB, CICSAL, CIMAC, CIME, CINAB, NAC, PCI, and the Pacific SPR Region, the Moderator of GCXXIV, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, presented the work that the Capitulars are called to carry out in this stage of preparation, identifying “the calls of God that emerge as new interpellations for the future of the FMA Institute” in the light of the syntheses elaborated by each Interprovincial Conference and by the SPR Province on how to recognize, interpret, and identify significant elements and concrete steps to be today “generators of life”, vocational, synodal, missionary, and prophetic communities.
“The Gospel of the Wedding at Cana (Jn 2: 1-12) remains the guiding motif that continues to illumine the path. We let ourselves be guided by Mary, Teacher and Mother, to do everything He tells us”, was the wish of the Moderator of GCXXIV.
“The General Chapter is an opportunity and a responsibility to dream together of the unprecedented future that opens up before us. Each of us was chosen by the Lord through mediations to make her irreplaceable contribution to the growth of the charismatic fidelity of the Institute, in relation to the contribution of each sister, each community, and educating community. It is important to live this time of preparation starting by opening our heart to the newness of the Holy Spirit present in the today of history, to His new calls that we hear in the life of young people, of families, of people we meet”, urged Mother Yvonne Reungoat.
A new face for a future of hope sang Mother and the General Councilors, who faithful to God’s call and certain of His presence, boldly continue to be that prophetic and hopeful voice for the FMA Institute.