Aquila (Italy). On 29 October 2023, 14 years after the earthquake that devastated the city, severely hitting the House of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Saint John Bosco Province (IRO), and 10 years after the departure of the Sisters, Mary Help of Christians Community reopened after the reconstruction of the house.
It was a return desired by many Past Pupils who experienced this moment with deep emotion and much gratitude to Mary Help of Christians for the realization of this great dream.
“Today we celebrate the faithful love of God, a love that overcomes every difficulty and trial, which comes from God and returns to Him. We celebrate His infinite love which envelops the reality of Aquila and which today allows the reopening of the house of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. It wants to be a sign of Mary’s presence for many young people, families, adults, elderly people of this land wounded by an earthquake that affected not only things but also the soul. Let us celebrate with gratitude, because this is living the Eucharist!”
These are the introductory words of the Eucharistic Celebration, presided over by Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi, Archbishop of Aquila, in the Parish of San Silvestro, animated in song by the scouts, animators, and adults of the oratory. Present were the General Councilor for Communication of the FMA Institute, Sister Ausilia De Siena; the Provincial, Sister Gabriella Garofoli; and many FMA, Salesians of Don Bosco, and lay people from different parts of the Province.
At the end of the Mass, everyone went to the House where Sister Ausilia De Siena offered a simple and particularly heartfelt greeting, given that the Councilor spent the period of Postulancy in Aquila. After bringing Mother’s affectionate greeting, she urged the Community made up of the Animator, Sister Loredana Locci; Sister Maria Campese, and Sister Rita Cherella to live this rebirth in hope, to trust in Our Lady who “walks in our house,” and to recreate here, as in Mornese, “the house of happiness”, sharing the family spirit with the young people and testifying to them that it is worth meeting the Lord and relying on His friendship.
This was followed by the thanks from the Animator, who concluded by saying, “When we arrived, we realized that something so dear to our family was missing from this house, namely the statue of the Help of Christians who looked down on and blessed the people from the roof. Our dear Salesian Brothers give us this beautiful gift today! I hope that Mary, to whom the House and the University College are dedicated, will continue to protect those who enter her house!”
Significant was the presence of Laura, one of the students who already lives in the House, representing the young people who will soon fill the University College dedicated to Mary Help of Christians.
The Cardinal then blessed the statue and the rooms and the ribbon was cut by Sister Ausilia, which opened the moment of fraternal agape.
There were many emotional moments, including remembering the history of the House since its opening in 1963. Very beautiful and touching was the meeting of some FMA who came for the inauguration with the Past Pupils.
Among the various sentiments, what stands out above all is gratitude for the many people who did their utmost to make the dream of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians’ return to Aquila a reality, including the Provincial and her Council who, encouraged by the then Mother General Sister Yvonne Reungoat, decided to start the process of rebuilding the House, and to Cardinal Petrocchi, who invited the Salesian Sisters to return because the young people needed them.
This day, which began with the Eucharist, was truly the celebration of God’s faithful love, a love that overcomes every difficulty and trial, which comes from God and returns to Him. An infinite love, which envelops the reality of Aquila and which allows the return of the FMA, a sign of Mary’s presence for many young people, families, adults, elderly people of this land wounded by an earthquake that affected not only things but also the soul.