Turin (Italy). On 23 May 2022, on the eve of the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians, the Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, as per tradition, gives the Salesian Goodnight from the headquarters of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI) in Turin, wishing all the FMA present and connected in live streaming a happy feast.

After the presentation of the General Councilors who came to Turin for the celebrations, Mother Chiara begins the Goodnight by asking herself a question:

I asked myself, “When was the first time Mother Mazzarello came to the Basilica?”

In Volume II of the Cronistoria it can be read that Mother, for the first time in Turin, accompanies the Sisters who have to take the state exams to become teachers. “Thus, Mother finally goes to see the beautiful Madonna of Don Bosco, her Mother and that of the Institute, the dear Help of Christians so often dreamed of in her outbursts of filial prayer. She speaks to the Founder, who makes her visit her house.” She finally she gets to see Her. She does not say Mary Help of Christians, she says “the beautiful Madonna of Don Bosco” (Vol II, p. 111).

“She would like to have all her daughters with her in the Valdocco Sanctuary, and with fervor she presents them to the Holy Virgin, in the very place of her prodigious apparitions to the Founder, and of the moving manifestations of her power and of her maternal heart”.

I identified with this phrase. Since this morning,  I have been thinking of and carrying within myself all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the world and I have tried to imagine today,  and I would like this message to reach especially those far away and in difficulty, in the places where it is hard to live, where violence, war, lack of recognition of rights make our educational mission hard, so it takes a lot of courage, a lot of moral strength, a lot of faith to carry it forward,  this carrying all the daughters to the Basilica, today and especially tomorrow (May 24), in a special way.

The Cronistoria also says that when Mother Mazzarello returns to Mornese, she has a radiant gaze and it is enough to remind her of “Valdocco” or “Mary Help of Christians,” for her to transmit with her gaze, with her joy, the beauty of this encounter.

Then I asked myself, “When did the first statue of Mary Help of Christians arrive in Mornese?” because in Mornese they cultivated devotion to the Immaculate Conception.

“Towards the end of April (1875) the box containing the awaited statue of Mary Help of Christians arrives. Sisters, postulants, boarders are all around to open it, to draw out the packing straw with respect, competing to see who will be the first to see the face of the Madonna”.

Listen to the Cronistoria, that has the flavor of ‘fioretti’:

“Here she is. She cannot be called beautiful, no; but what does it matter? The heart sees her as perfect, they find all her regal greatness, and they love her, not for what she looks like, but for what she desires to represent”.

All of these things helped me to piece together the meaning of this Feast for us. It is a Feast of the Church. Why did Don Bosco turn to her? Why did Mother Mazzarello take her in turn and pass her to us with all this fervor? So that we may feel Mary present in our life, as a helper, as a protection, as a guide for our vocation.

If each of us thinks about the origin of our own vocation, I believe that at one time or another we will find the presence of Mary who accompanied our human, spiritual, and Salesian journey. We feel accompanied and preceded on the journey. We are an Institute that belongs entirely to Mary; she herself guides us. She is walking. I think sometimes she runs, even in our houses. She who is Mother and generative of life. We ask Her to give us her courage, her strength.  Daughters bear the features of their mother impressed on their face and thus, Mary asks us to be her daughters.

Our name, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, contains two very important aspects of our identity. We are daughters; the daughter is in a very close relationship with her mother, we know the depth of Mary Help of Christians. It means that we take on her mission, we make it ours. Her mission in the Church is to be helper, mediator, support.

The Gospel we will read tomorrow presents us with a very dear passage, which marked the entire preparation for GC XXIV, accompanied the development of the Chapter, and now also marks the post-Chapter journey. In this passage we read, “The Mother of Jesus was there.” There, the presence of Mary was so strong that she has the power to affect the action of her Son, to determine it, to make Him anticipate the hour. Not only on the Son, but also on the servants, “Do whatever He tells you”.

At the beginning of our Institute there was Mary, the Mother, but we can say “there is, continues to be” and what she asks of us is to be there, as our Constitutions say, “To be helpers like her”, that is bearers of help, mediators of this salvation.

I end with Mother Mazzarello’s phrase from Letter 23, “Have great confidence in Our Lady. She will help you in everything.” She doesn’t say in the bigger things, she says in all of them. In my opinion, we must make her work harder, trust her more, be more her daughters. And let her be truly a Mother to us.

HAppy Feast!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.