Rome (Italy). The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, in Circular No. 1017 recalls the charismatic significance of the Feast of Gratitude, which gives continuity and expression to the family spirit and gratitude characteristic of Valdocco and Mornese.

The Feast of Gratitude 2022, has the specialness of being inserted “in the particularly festive and involving atmosphere of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute” and unites all the FMA in the desire to “go forward with a big and generous heart”, as Mother Mazzarello asks in Letter 47 (cf. L 47.12).

Mother Chiara refers to the difficult international situation that certainly does not encourage festivity, but in which we are even more called to “give greater visibility to the joy and beauty of our vocation to be always more effectively, “a response of salvation to the profound hopes of the young people” (C 1).  In this way, we participate in solidarity in the suffering and hopes of humanity that seeks peace and better conditions of life!”.

Mother thanks the Vicar General, Sr. María del Rosario García Ribas, for having followed and communicated to the Institute the proposal for the Feast of Gratitude 2022, held in Turin, Mornese, Nizza Monferrato from 24 to 26 April 2022, and the Piedmont Province Mary Help of Christians (IPI) for the preparation of the Feast, with Mary, Mother, Teacher, and Help at the center, a spiritual and historical itinerary on the ‘holy ground’ of the FMA Institute.

The Circular recalls some passages from the life of the Founders that highlight the presence of Mary in the formative itinerary of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, as points of very strong spiritual encounters.  In the name of a Congregation is the synthesizes of the charismatic vision, the plan, the inspiration.  The name evokes the aspects of the identity that characterize the Institute in the Church.

“On 5 August 1872, Don Bosco gave the name to his female Religious Family which must belong entirely to Mary … ‘Regard as glory your beautiful title of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and often think that your Institute must be the living monument of Don Bosco’s gratitude to the Great Mother of God, invoked under the title of Help of Christians’ (Cronistoria I, 306)”.

Two aspects linked to the name are highlighted in particular: the filial relationship with Mary and the mission of consecrated women in the Church and in the world, linked to motherhood, generativity, missionary spirit, being a ‘helper’, especially among young people.  (cf.  C 4).

Mary is a living presence in Don Bosco’s life, and he regarded her as a Mother always present who illumines and directs his life and choices since his infancy, to the point of affirming, “It is she who has done everything!”; and in the first Community of Mornese, where “she is at home” and her maternal presence is never doubted in each situation.

At the XXIV General Chapter, the prayerful discussion opened precisely with the presence of Mary in the passage from the Gospel of John (Jn 2: 1-12): “Mary is present at Cana and precisely because of her ‘being there’ she sees, foresees, and provides.” Mother Chiara thus indicates the urgency, as Educating Communities in a time of particular precariousness and uncertainty towards the future, to assume prevention in the pedagogical perspective of the Preventive System and the availability of “I will go”.

A significant event of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the FMA Institute is then recalled: the transfer of the first group of young women who already lived with Mary Domenica Mazzarello in the Immaculate Mary House to the Borgo Alto School, where Main had the vision and heard the prophetic voice, “I entrust them to you!”, that took place on 23 May 1872. “Mother had prepared the house for her daughters! (cf. Cronistoria I, 282-286)”.

At the conclusion of the Circular, Mother Chiara communicates to all the Provinces that in the months of May, June, and July, some useful modules will be sent for the preparation of the 150th of foundation of the Institute and an outline for the celebration of a new ‘Yes’ for the coming August 5th.

In closing, Mother thanks each FMA, each Community, the lay people, young people, each Salesian Family Group “for their precious contribution that makes the charism flourish in the whole world” and she addresses “a special thank you to the elderly or sick sisters for their generous and fruitful support for the vitality of the Institute.” She expresses special closeness and assures prayers for the Communities living in situations of war, violence, poverty, difficulty, and those who are committed with great generosity to receive the refugees and migrants.  “Let us continue to implore peace for Ukraine and for the other Countries crossed by violence”.

She wishes to all the FMA, also in the name of the Council Sisters present and away, a holy month of May and “to feel the comfort and consolation of Mary’s presence, certain of what Don Bosco said to be a reality in each of our Communities: ‘I want to tell you that Our Lady is really here, among you!  Our Lady walks in this house and covers it with her mantle’ (Cronistoria V, 52)”.

Circolar n° 1017




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