Ivato (Madagascar). From 28 December 2023 to 1 January 2024, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Province Mary Source of Life (MDG) met in Ivato, Antananarivo, at the Community of Mary Help of Christians, to participate in the annual Provincial Assembly, an event of grace, a source of joy and peace for all participants.

The Assembly opened with the Lectio Divina led by Sister María Alejandra Strada, an Argentine missionary in Madagascar and Provincial Bursar, on the biblical text taken from the Gospel of Saint John (Jn 15:9-17), with which the commandment of love was highlighted, spiritual foundation of the encounter.

A consistent time was then devoted to the evaluation of the provincial project, an opportunity to take stock of what was achieved in 2023 and to trace the way towards a fruitful future.

Then, Sister Céline Rahantasoa, Provincial Communication Coordinator, presented a synthesis of the Inter-Sector Seminar “For a generative animation” of the CIAM Inter-Province Conference, held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 24 to 29 August 2023, on the theme of care.

During the Assembly, the importance of the Provincial and Local Councils in the context of the mission was also highlighted. Sister Dora Lucia Echeverri Villa, Animator of the Community Mary queen of Angels of Mahajanga, and Sister Sylviane Rasoelinoro, Animator of the Community St. John Bosco of Betafo, presented the role of the Councils for the good of the mission, underlining its essential contribution.

Sister Maria Alejandra Strada then shared some reflections on the responsibility of the Economers, general, provincial, and local highlighting their fundamental role in promoting the common good and the Institute as a whole.

The fourth day of the Assembly was dedicated to the sharing of events attended by some sisters of the Province.

The Provincial, Sister Rafaraonisoa Blandine, shared her participation in the meeting of the Major Superiors, in which the topics discussed were the synodal reflection, the responsibility of the female congregations. She then spoke about the management of the Lovasoa High School and the Mutuel Santé initiative for the sick sisters. Community challenges were also addressed, highlighting the importance of accompaniment and stressing the need for adequate ongoing formation.

Sister Maria Alejandra Strada shared the experience of Project Jerusalem, scheduled from June 1 to July 10, 2023, an experience of 40 days of listening and confrontation with the Word of God to discover the most significant places in the life of Jesus such as the Holy Sepulcher, the Dead Sea, Nazareth, and Jerusalem with the studying of issues related to the socio-political reality and local daily life.

Sister Valérine Rasoamiafara, who participated at the Regional Congress of the Salesian Cooperators in Lusaka, presented to the Assembly the contents, including the origins of the Salesian Cooperators, the specific tasks of the Delegates, the steps taken in the faith, and the guidelines for the Francophone CIAM Region. This Congress strengthens the commitment and cohesion of the Salesian Cooperators in the community.

The session dedicated to the Novices, presented by the Novice Formator of Madagascar, Sister Emeline Raharinorofaralalao, focused on vocational discernment and the formation process, addressing practical, human, affective, and spiritual aspects. Through the words of Pope Francis, the fundamental stages of discernment were highlighted, while Sister Emeline dealt with some aspects, such as good manners, human maturity, respect, affective maturation, and the spiritual dimension.

The closing of the Assembly culminated in the celebration of the Province Feast of Gratitude, during which each Community expressed in various ways, including dance, song, and other forms of expression, its gratitude to the Provincial, Sister Blandine.

During the days when the Assembly was held, the FMA experienced the deep bond with the mission and the encouragement to live more authentically the values of the Gospel. The meeting also strengthened the bond between the members of the Congregation, helping to build a Community ready to radiate joy and peace.

“Blessed is the community whose members live an authentic relationship, because its presence will be a living witness to the Gospel.”  “Blessed is the community whose members know how to dialogue, because it will be a generative presence of life.” These are the beatitudes that the FMA of Madagascar are committed to carrying out during 2024.


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