Rome (Italy). Mother and the General Council of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, at the opening of Choral Circular No. 1020, express the joy of living in communion with all the FMA of the world the 150th anniversary of the Foundation, on 5 August 2022:
“From every community in the world, from sunrise to sunset, a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God will be raised for the wonders He has worked in the history of our educating communities and in the life of every Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. On this day, each one will renew the Covenant of love with the Lord and will express deep gratitude for the full and abundant life of the young people.”
The preparation for the celebration took place through “a three-year period of praise, of thanksgiving, of new educational and vocational vitality” (cf. Circ. 989), marked by the guiding words of Mother Mazzarello: “Let us really thank the Lord who gives us so many graces” (L 37.10); “I entrust them to you”; “Courage! Let us go ahead with a big and generous heart “(L 47,12).
In the five Continents all the Provinces, despite the difficulties linked to the pandemic, wars, and suffering creatively involved the Educating Communities in the Jubilee celebrations which, lived in the “variety of colors and cultures,” are “opportunities for vocational relaunching and for greater visibility of the charism today.”
Mother and the Councilors recall some Jubilee events lived:
the Celebration of the 150th anniversary in the Basilica of St. John in Lateran in Rome, on 3 June 2022, together with the Comboni Missionary Sisters;la tavola rotonda in the Hall of the Protomoteca of Campidoglioon Female Perspectives for Rome as an “educating city”, promoted by the Pontifical Faculty of Education Sciences “Auxilium” on 14 June 2022; virtual pilgrimages for FMA and laity of the Salesian Family in the places of their origins; the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians in the Basilica of Turin Valdocco, experienced by the Council as a pilgrimage; the experience of the esercizi Spiritual Exercises at the Mornese Collegio; the encounter in Turin with the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, and his Council.
Recharged with new charismatic energy and encouraged by the words of Pope Francis who, in the meeting of 22 October 2021 with the Chapter members, invited us to “be outgoing missionary communities, reaching out to proclaim the Gospel to the peripheries with the passion of the first Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.” The work of the plenum continued in line with the deliberations of GC XXIV and according to the topics of the Six-year Program studied in-depth in a continuous exercise of synodality. With this style, they lived the significant experience of two days of workshops with the Sector collaborators on the Chapter Deliberations.
An event that arouses gratitude to the Holy Father for the esteem he continues to show towards the FMA Institute is also the appointment of Mother Yvonne Reungoat as a member of the Dicastery for Bishops.
In the awareness that“the celebration of this jubilee projects us with hope towards the future and commits us to express the charism with renewed creativity”,the events and initiatives for the 150th anniversary continue, including the International Congress organized by the Pontifical Faculty of Sciences of Education “Auxilium” on the theme: Contribution of the FMA to Education (1872 – 2022). Paths, Challenges, and Perspectives, which will take place in Rome, in the Generalate, from 25 to 30 September 2022. The conference includes an artistic evening “Salesian World Vision” in which many young people from all over the world will be able to express their experience of the Preventive System.
Among the initiatives, as a perennial reminder of this jubilee year, in the Generalate garden you will be able to sit next to a statue of Mother Mazzarello, to converse familiarly with her.
The Circular concludes with the encouragement on the part of Mother and the Sisters of the Council, to ensure that the celebration of the 150th anniversary may mark a rebirth and an awakening of vocational and missionary freshness in every FMA and Educating Community and that the mandate “I entrust them to you” may become “I will take care of you,” “manifested in daily fraternity, in unconditional sharing, as an expression of the maternal features of God’s face” in the hope that the experiences of communities open to young people may multiply.
The final wish is to be more and more, with Mary, “happy women, in love with Jesus, passionate about the mission, entirely given to God for the salvation of young people”.