Madrid (Spain). From 25 to 28 October 2023 in Madrid, at San Juan Bautista Institute – Salesianos Estrecho, and the Center for Higher Teaching in Human Sciences and Educational Sciences CES Don Bosco, the meeting took place of the Salesian School Commission with representatives of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and Salesians of Don Bosco from the Provinces of Europe and the Middle East.
At this first meeting in person after the pandemic, 37 people were present, of which 14 FMA from Italy, Poland, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, and the Middle East.
The objective of the meeting was to continue together as FMA and SDB, the dialogue and reflection on the path of the educational and pastoral proposal in the Salesian school context. This refers to the teaching of Pope Francis who calls us to pool efforts in a broad educational alliance to form mature people, capable of overcoming divisions and antagonisms and restoring the fabric of relationships for a more fraternal humanity. (cf. Vademecum of the Global Pact on Education).
In this perspective, the program included a reflection on the process developed and carried out together with the Salesians of Don Bosco regarding the “Identity Card of the School – Salesian Professional Formation (SSE) in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa”; and the survey for members of the Management Teams of Schools and Professional Formation Centers in the 40 countries of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, where there are present scholastic Educating Communities and Professional Formation Centers called Educo-barometer.
The survey questionnaire had the aim of knowing more in depth the reality of scholastic and professional formation works, through the experience of the SDB, FMA, and lay management teams, and of listening to the members regarding issues concerning their own work service, the educational mission and its scholastic, Salesian, and social character.
In this context, the sharing of the strengths, challenges, and opportunities of their schools by the Referents of the Provincial school realities also took place. This experience facilitated mutual knowledge of what is done and what is experienced in other countries. Despite the difficulties and challenges of today’s scholastic world shared in the meeting, the preventive vision of the Salesian Educational System was reiterated, which looks at the person starting from the principle of integrality, from a promotional perspective, and from a valorizing perspective, always seeking the “point accessible to the good”.
Believing that the educational perspective of the Preventive System is a strong point capable of involving young people in a common project of interaction between experiences and skills, the program includes a moment of reflection on contents and the sharing of good practices on integral ecology. This is in the belief that cultural education in the Christian anthropological vision must become a commitment to accompany young people and support them in the search for the meaning of life in building a future of peace, fraternity, social friendship, responsibility for the common home. (cf. GC 24)
The visits to the Salesiano-Estreco and the Centro Studios Superiores Don Bosco were also significant. Among the authorities who welcomed the Commission at the Don Bosco Study Center was also the Provincial of Mary Help of Christians Province (SPA), Sister María del Rosario Ten Soriano.
In the second Center, the research project that will be carried out by the Salesian University of Madrid on the emotional well-being of students and teachers of Salesian centers was presented to the participants, one of the themes that emerged from the results of the Educo barometer survey.
The meeting highlighted once again the importance and fruitfulness of planning and implementing shared paths between the FMA and SDB in international school contexts to bring, through the Salesian Charism, hope to young people, families, and school communities.