Rome (Italy). On 10 April 2022, Palm Sunday, the Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, with the Vicar General, Sr. María del Rosario García Ribas, visited the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, at the SDB Central Venue at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Rome.
In the family encounter, Mother Chiara, in addition to offering her best wishes for the upcoming Easter in the name of all the FMA, in response to a specific request from the Successor of Don Bosco, animator and center of unity of the Salesian Family (Cf Art. 3 of the FMA Rule of life) gave Fr. Ángel various representative relics (2nd degree) of the FMA.
These are objects that belonged to some Sisters on the path to the honors of the altar, which will serve to embellish with the contribution of women, the Salesian Holiness sector of “Don Bosco House Museum” in Turin, Valdocco.
In the text “The Causes of the Saints. Resource for the Studium” of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, specifically in Chapter II dedicated to the cult of relics, there are important elements that help to understand the value of the significant gesture that took place in a conversation between the Rector Major and Mother Chiara.
The term relic literally means ‘fragment’ and refers to the human body or a part of it; in a broad sense, it is also used to indicate objects owned by a deceased person. In a purely religious sense, the relics are divided into:
– distinguished relics (1st degree), the whole body or a significant representative part of a Saint or Blessed;
– non-distinguished or representative relics (2nd degree), objects that belonged to the Saints or that have been in contact with them. Already in the New Testament, we can see the conditions for the cult of representative relics: believers who touched the clothes that belonged to St. Paul (cf. Acts 19:11) were healed (Cf. “The Causes of Saints. Resource for the Studium”, edited by Vincenzo Criscuolo, Carmelo Pellegrino, Robert J. Sarno, Vatican City, Vatican Publishing House, 2018,227-230).
Finally, there are also 3rd degree relics that correspond to any object that has come into contact with distinguished relics.
The Second Vatican Council, in the constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacro Sanctum Concilium, at n. 111, clarifies the genuine and correct purpose of the devotion of relics: “The Church, according to her tradition, venerates the saints and holds their authentic relics and their images in honor. The feasts of the saints, in fact, proclaim the wonders of Christ in His servants and offer the faithful suitable examples to imitate.”
The veneration of the relics has the purpose of giving Glory to God, magnifying and praising the goodness of the Lord manifested in that creature and imitating the Saint in the willingness to correspond to the superabundant gift of Grace.
The non-distinguished relics consigned to the Rector Major are: the glasses, the prayer book “Little office of the Blessed Virgin Mary” of the Venerable Mother Laura Meozzi (1873-1951); a handkerchief and a handwritten note from the Servant of God Mother Rosetta Marchese (1922-1984); the nightgown, a sheet music book, and a book on cosmology in French of Venerable Sr. Teresa Valsé Pantellini (1878-1907); two rosaries, three medals, and a handkerchief of Blessed Maddalena Morano (1847-1908), a harmonica and a handwritten notebook of Blessed Maria Romero (1902 – 1977) with transcriptions of poems by various authors; a forceps used in assisting the sick and a Rosary of Blessed Maria Troncatti (1883 – 1969).
The Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, warmly thanked Mother Chiara Cazzuola for this gift, an eminently Easter sign of the donation of these sisters on their way to holiness, which enriches the whole Salesian Family.