Rome (Italy) The theme of Circular 999 comes from the resonances received by the Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, through online communications during this time of the pandemic of Covid-19. It “wishes to be a simple response to what vibrates in all hearts, ready to let themselves be formed in the heart of contemporaneity by the concrete situations of life”.
Taking up the words of St. Paul (2 Tim 1:6), writing during a difficult time for the Church and for his personal life, says to Timothy, “Stir into flame the gift of God that you have”, Mother invites us to reflect on what we are living, not as a time destined for decadence, but as possibilities for new life that flow from the Spirit. Thus, she expresses the conviction that, “this is a favorable time to stir into flame the gift of God that is in us, to witness to is precisely today, with trust and with perspectives open to the future.
Reviving the gift of God that is in us, requires assuming new passion for the journey of formation, an indispensable condition for renewal and for missionary fruitfulness, as was stated in the Circular of Convocation of GC XXIV, that refers us to the FMA Formation Plan. In line with the theme of the General Chapter, the Document of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life For New Wine in New Wineskins, she invites us to form ourselves to become ‘new wineskins’, to receive the ‘good wine’ of Jesus’ miracle at Cana.
Mother Yvonne highlights the importance of formation for each FMA who, as the Constitutions remind us, is ‘responsible for her own formation’ (C 80) and that it is a gradual process involving every age. Before a complex reality rich in challenges that requires the capacity for a critical reading of the events, she is convinced that the priority is commitment to self-formation, cultural updating, to guide the young people in their integral growth. “More than learning ideas, although necessary, formation is an experience that penetrates life, nourishes the spirit, offers possibilities of comparison, regenerates the quality of daily relationships, and the ability to impart an educational service that is more efficacious and incisive”.
Mother closes with an appeal to the Provinces, “to promote the formation of the sisters in the Sciences of Education, in catechetics, in communication, in the management of the works, and in teaching, indispensable today to give a quality response to the mission of the Institute, but also to respond to the calls of the Church. Formation must have priority in the choices of the Province with a forward-looking vision and a planning mentality”.
At the end of the Circular, Mother refers to the 50th anniversary of the canonical erection of the Pontifical Faculty of the Sciences of Education Auxilium, on 27 June 2020. As Superior General and Vice Grand Chancellor, she expresses gratitude to all who are involved with dedication and professionalism to providing development and quality to this Institution that is “the pedagogical laboratory that cultivates the talent of educating, elaborating with Mary a culture of life permeated with the integral pedagogical humanism of St John Bosco and of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, with a broad international breath”.