on 16 April in the early afternoon, she reached the See of St. Mary Mazzarello Province (CMM). She was welcomed by the Sisters who live in the Antioquia Region and by the Animators of the FMA communities.

Sr. Sara Sierra, the Provincial, welcomed Mother Chiara saying, “Yours is a very special visit to our country, to our Province. Your visit strengthens our sense of belonging, makes us more attentive and ready to follow your word. With Mary, we are attentive in listening to reality, in realizing when there is a lack of wine, that is, the joy of love, to bring Christ and to make ourselves close to the recipients of our mission, with compassion and tenderness.” The educational, pastoral, evangelizing, and social mission of the Province was then presented in a global way.

On 17 April, Mother Chiara’s day began with the Eucharist presided over by the Provincial of San Luigi Bertrand Province (COM) of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Luis Fernando Valencia Mosquera. The students of the High Schools of Mary Mazzarello Educational Institute then welcomed her with songs and choreography, with which they recalled the history of the School, the first in the CMM Province, thanking her for being a messenger of peace, and for accompanying the Institute in its mission on behalf of the children and young people of the world.

Subsequently, she had a meeting with the support and administrative staff and with the Animators who briefly presented the Communities and the works. They used as a leitmotif the Gospel text of the Wedding at Cana, in which “Mary’s presence foresees, anticipates, and provides, delicately exercising God’s preventive style” (cf. Acts GC XXIV).

In the afternoon, the presence of Mother filled two communities with joy: the Social Work of St. Mary Mazzarello in Medellín and Mary Help of Christians rest home. In the first Community, Mother was able to appreciate the work of volunteers and Sisters for the support and educational growth of women and mothers, so that they might have a source of income to support their families. She visited each workshop and admired the artifacts they make.

In the second community, Mother expressed gratitude to the ‘older’ sisters for their life, for the years of apostolate, for daily prayer, for inner peace, and for having made their own the needs of the Pope, Mother, the Council, and the entire Institute. Her visit was life-giving and she left the hearts of the sisters filled with joy.

On 18 April, after the Eucharistic Celebration, the encounter with the Provincial Council and Team continued, in which representative works and projects were presented in the field of Youth Ministry, education in the faith, missionary and vocational Ministry, such as the workshop “Reto 9”, the diploma course “Foundations and innovations in religious education”, and the Degree Course “Foundations and innovations in religious education”.

In the afternoon, Mother shared Salesian sweets with the pupils of the Primary School of Mother Mary Mazzarello Educational Institute, who thanked her for her presence and recharged energies to continue on her journey.

In the evening, at the Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport in Barranquilla, the FMA of the Caribbean coast communities welcomed Mother Chiara and then accompanied her to Mary Help of Christians Community House – Virginia Rossi College, where they prayed for peace and shared a dinner to the rhythm of Caribbean folklore and joy.

On the following day, 19 April, a meeting was held with young people from the Caribbean coast – Santa Marta, Cartagena, Manaure, Barranquilla, and Sabanagrande – in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mary Queen and Help of Christians of Barranquilla.  There the Eucharist was celebrated, presided over by the Provincial Fr. Luis Fernando Valencia, in thanksgiving for the presence of Mother and for the generous and joyful mission of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Colombia, especially in this part of the Country.

Afterwards, at Mary Help of Christians School, through a folkloric representation, the history of the presence in the Caribbean of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians was retraced. They had entered from Cartagena and settled in Barranquilla, to then expand to other Departments. Mother was bestowed the sash of “Illustrious Member” of the city. (Video)

With Mother’s arrival and in an atmosphere of happiness, joy, and unity, the Sisters felt the presence of Mother Mazzarello and that Mornese is alive among them today. Her visit nourished their vocation, the family spirit, and the joy of having been chosen by the Lord to live a happy Salesian life.

On the evening of 19 April, Mother Chiara traveled towards Cali to begin her visit to the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá (CBC).

Photos: Flickr FMA


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