Rome (Italy).  Towards the  150° anniversary of Foundation of the Institute, the Formation Sector of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians offers the Novices of the world a virtual encounter with Mother Mazzarello at Mornese, the sources of a Charism that expands and extends over time.

The online meetings, which take place between 30 August and 4 September 2021 in the main languages, are coordinated by Sr. Nieves Reboso, Councilor for Formation of the FMA Institute, and Sr. Leslye Sàndigo, coordinator of Project Mornese, in collaboration with some FMA of the various contexts.

The theme proposed to the novices, about 300 around the world, is Today Mother writes a letter for you! with the objectives of:

– offer the Novices a space for reflection to discover the beauty of the simplicity of Mother Mazzarello’s heart in the daily life of the first Community of Mornese.

– listen to the profound wisdom of Mother Mazzarello’s words through the Letters written to the Novices: Laura Rodriguez (L 18); Sr. Ottavia Bussolino (L 45); Sr. Rita Barilatti (L 60); Sr. Mercedes Stabler (L 62); Sr. Lorenzina Natale (L 67).

The program includes the greeting of the Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat:

“In the meeting that is proposed to you, you will have the opportunity to study the exhortations and encouragement addressed by Mother Mazzarello to the novices of her time. I wish you to listen directly to Mother Mazzarello speaking to each one of you today. Mary Domenica was well aware that the spiritual quality towards which the novices walked was a guarantee of their happy future as holy FMA and therefore she gave much attention to the formative dimension. We have received 5 letters written by her to novices, moreover, in two collective letters, there are passages reserved for the novice present in the community. They are a sign of a significant  concern for formation.”

Sr. Maria Vanda Penna, Animator of St. Mary D. Mazzarello Community of Mornese, of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI), then addresses a few words of welcome to Mornese to the Novices  and Sr. Nieves Reboso, then with some questions, invites the Novices to “set out on a journey” in the footsteps of Mother Mazzarello:

“Do you have confident abandonment, active listening? Are you ready to let your hearts be touched by the words of Jesus, of Mother Mazzarello, of your traveling companions? Are you willing to learn from everything, to go beyond appearances to discover the step of God? I encourage you to be attentive to what is going on in your heart. It is there, where Mother Mazzarello always sends us, that something new happens”.

Following the presentation in each Novitiate, the prayer “From the heart of a Mother” and the presentation of three letters from Mother Mazzarello written to the Novices in three significant places in the life of Mother Mazzarello:

  • the Valponasca, where the Letter 45 written to Sr. Ottavia Bussolino is studied, emphasizing the aspects of vocation and obedience;
  • the Collegio, in which we hear Letter 18 written to Sr. Laura Rodriguez, the first FMA from America, highlighting the humility and joy that arise from a heart that belongs entirely to the Lord and goes beyond difficulties;
  • Nizza Monferrato, where  Letter 67 written to Sr. Lorenzina Natale is presented, recalling the third missionary expedition, zeal for the Da mihi animas of the first FMA, with no age for sacrifice, love, and prayer.

Mother Yvonne Reungoat wishes the Novices to value this unique formative experience:

“Now it is your turn to take the formative journey with seriousness and perseverance so that generativity and vocational fruitfulness may grow ever more in the Institute, especially for the benefit of the young in the Church. Listen to and meditate on what you will be led to discover with an open heart, without thinking that advice, encouragement, guidelines of almost 150 years ago are far from your reality. The Gospel never changes, just as the Charism does not change. The concrete ways to implement them can and must change according to times and places, not the path of joyful holiness that they trace”.


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