Roma (Italia). On the occasion of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary 2023, the Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, addresses a Message of greetings to all FMA and Educating Communities:
At the origin of our history of salvation and redemption is Mary, the Immaculate Virgin, whom we look upon with love and gratitude. The only creature without a shadow of sin, and our Mother, proposes to us the original plan of God for man and woman, created in His image and likeness, according to His beauty and perfection. It is She who awakens in our heart the longing for purity, harmony, and innocence that dwells in the depths of each person and opens us to prayer that finds expression in the songs of poets and authors of all times.
Today’s feast fills our hearts with particular joy and, above all, gives us a new impetus, a new impulse of love to live ever more fully in the commitment of Hope, our being Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, daughters of a dream that continues through time.
Mary is at the origin of our charismatic history. We find Her especially in the ‘sacred’ dream of a child, called to things that seem impossible to him and who, therefore, is confused; I would even say anguished. But She is there, the Woman dressed in stars, bright with resurrection and grace who takes him maternally by the hand.
The Woman clothed with stars, invites Johnny to approach her and takes him by the hand. It is a natural reassuring maternal gesture of pure affection that sustains and encourages, leads and guides, strengthens the certainty of protection and the necessary reassurance to venture into the future mission. It is the gesture with which the teacher and mother tells little John Bosco and all of us, “I am here; we will do it together.” In the dream, for us paradigmatic and charismatic, Jesus entrusts us and our mission to His Mother.
It is with Her hand that we can bring hope, be generative, courageous, happy according to the root of the corresponding Latin word that means fruitful of life, like the tree that bears fruit. Only in this way can we help young people to welcome Jesus into their lives.
It is beautiful and essential for us to relive this gesture of the Woman of the Dream, when we pray our daily act of entrustment with which we put in her hand fidelity to our vocation, the recipients, the educating communities, the Church, and the world.
Our first missionaries left with poor things, with the so-called bundle, but not without Her in their heart, not without Her blessed image. I saw this image in Montevideo and I was so moved. How much power of generativity these first sisters of ours received from the Holy Spirit by being strongly united to Mary, invoking her, imitating her, loving her, and making her loved! They really saw miracles, as Don Bosco says.
Entering the houses of the different lands of our marvelous Institute, which is all Hers, I saw the image of Our Lady standing out in the main rooms, in the courtyards. She really is a family presence. I have seen young people and adults of different religions pause in prayer before her, paying homage to her with flowers and candles. This always touches me because it indicates great love and gratitude towards Mary, Mother of God and our Mother.
Today too, we experience in our homes and in various conditions, her maternal presence that reassures and accompanies our journey of holiness and our mission.
Everything began with Her; everything will continue with Her, because the Lord himself gave Her to us as a teacher and put His Mother at the center of the mission in which we are called to work with trust and hope, with courage, with the strength and beauty of grace, of fraternal communion, of educational co-responsibility, of joy.
Happy Feast to all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, especially to the communities living in difficult situations of war, persecution, and suffering. Happy feast to the educating communities, to the young, to the families with the invitation that the great poet Dante addresses to us: to contemplate the face of Mary because it is the most similar to the face of Jesus and only her splendor can help us to contemplate the figure of Her Son.
Rome, 8 December 2023
Sister Chiara Cazzuola
Superior General of the FMA Institute