Rome (Italy). The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Yvonne Reungoat, extends her thank you of life and hope in the birthday greetings received from all over the world.
Through this ‘open letter’, I wish to share what greatly vibrates in my heart. I would like to reach you, one by one, to express my thanks for the countless good wishes that arrived on 14 January 2021, for my birthday.
They came to me from all over the world through various communication channels that are an expression of the family spirit that is always alive, current, engaging. Some are known presences, others never encountered, but all united around a beautiful charism: the Salesian charism!
This is the source of our feeling ‘family’ and from here springs my gratitude which I express to you, to the members of the Salesian Family, especially to the Salesian Confreres; to the numerous people: young people and lay people who in different ways have ‘gifted’ me with expressions perceived, in their simplicity and spontaneity, as a hymn to life!
I ask myself: how can we talk about the feast of life in this difficult, dramatic time, when the pandemic has deeply wounded and still continues to wound, our way of life, causing contagions, deaths, loneliness, poverty, existential bewilderment, discomfort at all levels, not least the educational one? In many areas of the world, wars, violence, and attacks on the dignity of the human person continue to occur, especially against weak and defenseless people. There are so many emergencies that the human family is facing and no immediate solutions are foreseen to regain ‘normalcy’ of life.
Faced with this reality, I find no other suitable words to tell you that this is the moment to nourish and share the strength of hope, as Strenna 2021 suggests to us. Hope asks us to be cultivators of life, sowing seeds of trust, of solidarity, of light, of resurrection where darkness and discouragement would like to be the masters.
The life we celebrate, and the one I also celebrated recently, is a wonderful gift from God. It is a mystery of love that is discovered with the passage of time, both in moments of darkness and in those where the horizon shows itself in all its clarity.
God always acts with creativity and, very often, even surprising us with His loving action.
Each day that is born is a new day, a day in which we are given the opportunity to put our total self at the service of life: time, capacity, skills, experiences of faith, feelings of tenderness and fraternity so urgent today, choices and concrete actions to give comfort, love, joy, smiles, hope to those without them. In other words, to be small lights that illumine the daily lives of people near and far. We know that good is by its nature diffusive and that it knows no time limits or geographical boundaries.
I think that only in this context is it possible to speak of a ‘celebration of life’.
On various occasions, with simplicity, I have shared with you the Word of God that accompanies my personal journey: “I have made myself all to all” (cf. 1 Cor 9:22). I thank you because I feel supported by your prayers on this journey. For my part, I can assure you that you have a privileged place in my heart and in my daily prayer, especially in the Eucharist which is the thank you par excellence.
I pray that you may celebrate with lively participation as Salesian Family, the appointments of this month of January: Blessed Laura Vicuña, St Francis de Sales, and St John Bosco.
May God bless you and Mary Help of Christians always make the ‘missionary fire’ characteristic of Valdocco and Mornese burn in all of us!”
Rome, 19 January 2021
Sister Yvonne Reungoat
Superior General of the FMA Institute