Nizza Monferrato (Asti). On 21 October 2023, at the opening event of the “Festival of books and ideas: Books in Nizza”, at the Foro Boario in Nizza Monferrato, the publication was presented The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (1872-2022). Houses and Works,published in March 2023 in the Percorsi series of the FMA Study Center, by the Palumbi Publishing House.
The lively and engaging presentation was created by Sister Paola Cuccioli, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI), in charge of the Historical Archive of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Nizza Monferrato and curator, with Sister Grazia Loparco, of the two volumes, who answered the questions of Dr. Antonella Cavallo.
After a brief re-enactment of the origins of the Mother House of the FMA, opened in Nizza Monferrato by St. John Bosco and St. Mary D. Mazzarello as a school for girls, she introduced the public to the heart of the accurate historical research carried out in over a period of four years by seven FMA of the seven Italian Provinces.
The two volumes in approximately 1400 pages, make known the activities carried out in 1173 religious Houses/Communities with the works accomplished by the FMA in Italy over a period of 150 years, from 1872 to 2022. The Houses are divided according to the Regions of Italy that follow one another in chronological order according to the year of foundation: Piedmont, Liguria, Sicily in the first volume; followed by Veneto, Lombardy, and the other regions (except Molise) in the second volume.
What emerges with amazement from the research is the fact that in Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, over a period of 150 years, the FMA opened houses and works in the eight Piedmontese provinces for a total of 373 in 222 municipalities or hamlets. It is interesting to note that between 1890 and 1969, new houses were opened at a rate exceeding 30 openings for each decade.
When asked about the educational works present today in Nice in the Mother House building, Sister Paola replies that active are the School from the Spring Section to the Lower Secondary School, the Professional Formation Center, the Historical Archive that includes the funding of the six Provinces of Piedmont unified in 2003, the summer center, and various cultural, musical, and sporting activities.
Sister Paola replies that, “The large building of the Mother House is like Lego, because it has expanded and enriched itself with the passage of time to respond to the ever-new educational needs of girls and families.”
She then presents in more detail the historical archive opened to the public about ten years ago and full of useful documentation for any research of a historical, pedagogical, social nature, and relating to Salesian religious life also in rapport with the territory, given that Our Lady of Grace Institute is intertwined with the history of the city of Nizza Monferrato.
A significant event in this relationship with the Nizza Municipality is the conferral on 26 April 2022, of honorary citizenship to the Superior General of the Institute, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, as well as to all the approximately 11,000 FMA who compose it.
It can also be said that Nizza is a city open in a global perspective since its origins, since in St. Joseph Novitiate on the hill called ‘La Bruna’, missionaries were formed who were then sent to the five continents.
The event, “Books in Nizza” that took place on 21 and 22 October with various events and book presentations accompanied the citizens of this city and the surrounding area who came in large numbers, to grasp through the presentation of the two volumes the significance of the presence of the Charism of the FMA Institute, seed of the future for many families, children, and young people who frequent this House rich in history, holiness, and hope.