Bollington (Great Britain). From 16 to 18 February 2024, at the House of Savio House of Spirituality of the Salesians of Don Bosco of St. Thomas of Canterbury Province (GBR), the Provincial, Sister Pauline Clark and the Province Secretary of St. Thomas of Canterbury (GBR), Sister Elizabeth Purcell, shared the spirituality of Mother Mazzarello with the Salesians in initial formation of the SDB Province. The meeting was attended by 21 confreres from different parts of the world, Fr. Francis Preston, Provincial Delegate for Formation, and Fr. Martin Poulson.

The first evening was an opportunity to get to know each other, pray together, and outline the expectations and possible fears about the weekend. Saturday morning began with a simple exercise, which became the starting point of the day: writing three known items about Mary Mazzarello. The “Spirit of Mornese” was shared from a historical point of view, outlining the roles of Fr. Pestarino, Mary Domenica Mazzarello, and Don Bosco, while the Holy Spirit hovered over the village of Mornese, inspiring women to live the same charisma that Don Bosco lived in Turin.

During the morning, they reflected together on the Charisms, as a gift of the Spirit to the Church. It is a gift received by a person who has a lively passion for one of the dimensions of Christ’s life, an original contribution to the Church, in a given time and place, something that was not there before and was missing.

When these people met there was a fusion of spirits. When in 1864, Mary Mazzarello met Don Bosco in Mornese, she said she had heard “the echo of a language she felt in her heart but could not explain.” Thus, some distinctive aspects of the way of living the Charism as women were shared, before inviting the brothers to share how the history of the FMA connects to their SDB history. The sharing in the assembly was profound and regenerating.

In the afternoon, the Salesians were invited to meet Mary Mazzarello through her Letters. Each group was given a specific letter to reflect on, to bring back their first impressions to the assembly. The experience was very significant for the confreres, who highlighted the closeness, sincere love and interest in each Sister, so evident in her Letters. For some, it was the highlight of the weekend

Sunday morning was dedicated to a time of personal reflection to look at the women who played a role in their childhood and adolescence and to thank for the gift of these people. It was then continued with group work, to reflect on how this experience of relationship with women affects the way they relate to women today and with the FMA in their own contexts. The sharing of what was meditated opened a deep dialogue, enriched by the diversity of the participants’ backgrounds.

The moments of prayer, fraternity, fun, and informal chats strengthened the family spirit and crowned the work of going in-depth. The weekend ended with the celebration of the Eucharist together. All participants returned to their communities enriched by the knowledge of Mother Mazzarello and more aware of the role of women in the Church and the FMA within the Salesian Family.


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