Medellín (Colombia). From 11 to 16 April 2023, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, in Colombia for the World Feast of Gratitude to be held in Bogota on 26 April 2023, visited “Mary Help of Christians” Province (CMA).
After the welcome at the Provincial House and the encounter with the young women in formation and the Novices of CINAB at the interprovincial and international Novitiate of St. Joseph in La Ceja, Antioquia, on 13 April, in La Estrella-Antioquia, in the house of spirituality of St. Joseph, Mother Chiara met with the Animators, the local Councilors, and the Sisters of provincial teams.
The meeting began with the anthem of the Latin American Confederation of Religious (CLAR) “Women of the dawn”, and continued with the Animators’ presentation of the Communities and of the educational, pastoral, and evangelizing mission carried out in the various regions of Colombia. Mother expressed her gratitude for so much charismatic vitality in these lands and she invited us never to lose hope in the midst of the inevitable difficulties encountered in the mission.
In the afternoon, in an atmosphere of fraternity, each of the groups – Provincial Council, teams, Animators – met with Mother, who recommended to encourage, support, and care for the family spirit, to care for the quality of spiritual life, to accompany the Sisters with fraternal charity and joy, to walk in synodality, and to always remember that “the true Superior is Our Lady”.
On 14 April, Mother Chiara, with the Provincial Sr. Bertha Celmira Serna, reached Mama Margarita House in Medellín, an educational project for girls who live in difficulty in the city. She was welcomed with great joy, as they showed her Colombian folklore with dances and songs and expressing that they were proud to be part of this beautiful land. They concluded with the institution’s anthem “Una casa de puertas abiertas” (A house with open doors). Mother addressed the whole Educating Community, inviting them to be women “Bearers of Peace”.
In the afternoon, she visited the Community of St. Mary D. Mazzarello of the elderly and sick Sisters of Villa Mornés. It was a real Easter encounter, because the return of an FMA to the Father’s House was celebrated. With her profound words, Mother expressed gratitude for each of their lives and for what they mean in the Institute: a ‘prayer bank’ that supports the mission of many FMA in the world. She asked them to intercede with the Lord so that every FMA may be a “happy lover of Jesus.”
“With you Mother, women of the dawn” was the theme of the Eucharistic Celebration of thanksgiving for the gift of Mother Chiara Cazzuola to the Institute. It was presided over by Fr. Armando Alvarez, Salesian of Don Bosco, on 15 April in La Estrella-Antioquia, and was attended by the majority of the Sisters of the CMA Province, who came from the most remote places to meet and listen to Mother General. The young women in initial formation and the volunteers who are carrying out their experience in some works of the Province were present.
In his homily, Fr. Armando spoke of the Paschal Mystery, emphasizing that it must be confessed, celebrated, lived, witnessed, and prophesied and that it is necessary to invoke the help of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello to live it fully with the young. (Video)
In the afternoon there was a sharing with the sisters under the motto: Sowing “Coffee” we reap Peace, an allegory that refers to the whole process of growing coffee, its different flavors and aromas. Mother was shown the process of growing the coffee plant compared to the growth and richness of the CMA Province and Colombia with its diversity, highlighting all the attributes that characterize Colombian coffee, recognized throughout the world. Along with the song “La travesía”, well interpreted and danced, Mother was offered some coffee products.
For her part, she concluded this time of encounter by thanking the Educating Communities for their welcome, and leaving some recommendations: to be women of hope, courageous and optimistic; to cultivate and revive the family spirit which generates happy FMA and communities which fascinate by their fraternal relationships; keep simple and be seekers of God, walking together in synodality. She then made herself available for questions and finally gave the Provincial the gift of a beautiful Marian chasuble in the name of the General Councilors.
On 16 April, Divine Mercy Sunday, gratitude for the gift of Mother Chiara to Colombia, for her simple and joyful presence among her daughters, became prayer in the Eucharist celebrated in the Provincial House of Mary Help of Christians in Medellín, presided over by Fr. Oscar José Holguín, Salesian of Don Bosco. (Video)
Subsequently, at the Mary Help of Christians School in Medellín, Mother met the members of the Salesian Family of the Medellín Provinces (CMA and CMM) and the young representatives of the Salesian Youth Movement. Each group expressed the joy of having Mother Chiara among them. Then the young people creatively expressed their commitment to caring for the planet with the slogan “Let’s make a pact, let’s cultivate life.”
Mother Chiara then spoke encouraging words to us to continue working together as a Salesian Family, with the charismatic strength that impels us to live Salesian holiness with joy. A dialogue then opened between Mother and the participants, who expressed their gratitude and their vocational and existential questions. The moment was lived in a family spirit and with gratitude to God for belonging to the Salesian Family. (Video)
Mother concluded her visit to the Province leaving the perfume of her simplicity, charity, fraternity, gratitude, and joy. She then resumed her itinerary, reaching Mother Mazzarello Province (CMM) in the afternoon, also in Medellín.
Photos: Flickr FMA