Rome (Italy). On 18 April 2022 Easter Monday, the Community of Mary Help of Christians of the Generalate (RCG) celebrated the Feast of Gratitude to Mother Chiara Cazzuola.
The day began by entrusting Mother to Mary, her joys and her hopes, and with the Eucharistic celebration, the culmination of gratitude, presided over by Fr. Carlo Maria Zanotti, Salesian of Don Bosco, who begins the homily by saying:
“We celebrate the Feast of Gratitude as the Generalate in the fullness of Easter joy, which celebrates the living Christ and eternal life. Thank you to Mother Chiara, for her simple and joyful motherhood and dedication to all the sisters, brothers, young people, lay people of the various communities.” Recalling the last words of Mother Mazzarello to Mother Catherine Daghero, he then gives Mother three words: “Thank you, courage, and joy!”.
Fr. Carlo Maria also recalls the fraternal atmosphere of Mother Daghero with Mother Emilia Mosca, Mother Enrichetta Sorbone, Mother Elisa Roncallo, and the testimonies, which agree in saying: “They went well together, their virtues merged, like their characters, different from each other, in a harmony of aspirations and intentions, of works all aimed at the glory of God, and at the full and faithful implementation of the great idea of the Founder.” And he continues: “Today we are living in a time of synodality. This commitment is only possible if ‘we go well together'”.
He concludes his homily with, “We ask for ourselves and for Mother Chiara that every encounter with the Risen One be a transfiguration under the banner of courage, so as to carry out the beautiful program that she herself suggested to us in the Circular for the 150th anniversary, ‘To make our faces and our Houses shine with beauty and freshness, let us intensify a frank, cordial, collaborative fraternity, color our mission with genuineness and graciousness, become increasingly attractive signs of a love that generates and regenerates’”.
Mother and the Councilors present live the day ‘from dawn to dusk’ with the Generalate Community, including moments of conviviality. In the afternoon, they gather in the entrance atrium of the House for a moment of celebration of gratitude to Mother Chiara.
A group of FMA from different Countries, in Mornese attire, dance to the notes of the official hymn of the 150th ‘Walking with Mary’. Upon entering the chapel, the references continue to the humble and glorious history of the Institute and through some Psalms, the request to God is expressed for a heart full of love for Him, capable of finding joy in the ways indicated by Him.
Mary is truly present and the singing of the Magnificat, accompanied by the dance of the younger Sisters, expresses gratitude to God and to Mother for the gift of her availability. She is then given a statuette as a gift, which symbolically expresses the service of guidance and accompaniment, while the Animator, Sr. Carla Castellino, renews in everyone’s name the ‘yes’ of the Community, “We are your daughters; thank you for taking care of us! We will continue to be with Mary, a community that welcomes and supports the mission of the Institute”.
In her words, Mother Chiara underlines the educational and formative value of the Feast of Gratitude and the involvement of everyone in its realization. “We know that behind this feast there is a whole movement that starts from the Generalate with the letter from the Vicar, and it reaches up to the farthest Community in the world in a geographical sense, where the FMA involve the Educating Community, young people, children. It becomes a moment of a strong sense of belonging, of growth in the family spirit, of the true unity of our Institute. And it is also for this reason that we must continue to take care of it and want it.”
Mother then invites us to remember and thank all the FMA and the people who made the reality of the Institute possible. “Thinking back to the words of Don Bosco in Nizza, ‘Our Lady walks in your house and protects it with her mantle’ I thought how many FMA, from Mother Mazzarello onwards, have passed under this mantle! And the Institute still lives, and is still vibrant, strong, with the defects of the times, still with that energy, that charismatic vitality, which pushes it to move forward to seek to actualize the charism. We leave Chapter XXIV with this strength of living the presence, of being there, of relaunching the style of being beside the young, the people whom the Lord entrusts to us. Thus, we say thank you to all the people, to all the Sisters who have preceded us on this journey, who have given us such a beautiful Institute, and also a prayer to the Lord, to Mary Help of Christians who will help us to guard it, to keep it faithful, and to live the charism in the future as well. Thank you!”
The day in the company of Mother Chiara concludes with supper, where the expressions of joy and gratitude continue, especially with an African dance.