Rome (Italy). The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, in Circular n.1010 shares in continuity with the journey undertaken, some reflections on fraternity, in response to the appeal of Pope Francis who in his latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti– On fraternity and social friendship, invites us to dream “as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.” (FT 8). Mother says that reality is interwoven with a dream, that of unity, and we have to have the courage to free it. This is the right time to accomplish it together.
The Circular Letter is for the communities “a light, a respectful and discreet orientation to face the present with hope and develop future projects in fidelity to the charism, with attention to the indications of the Church and of society.
Mother dwells, in particular, on the figure of the good Samaritan presented in the 2nd chapter of the Encyclical. The relevance and greatness of the Good Samaritan, who stops to help his wounded brother, putting aside his plans and interests to become a neighbor, resides in the merciful love of the Father, who “knows of compassion and dignity” and teaches us not to turn away from suffering.
“In our daily choices, in the small or large situations that weave our days, we do not want to be people who turn away and hurry our step without stopping, but women inhabited by the Gospel, aware that no one must remain on the ‘margins of life ‘, because we are all brothers and sisters”.
Mother invites us to open ourselves to a universal dimension of love, letting ourselves be touched by the suffering of the other, opening up to everyone without prejudice, with the willingness to ‘kneel’ to heal the wounds of others, carrying those who suffer on our shoulders. This is the challenge that calls for a real change of mentality and to live the radical nature of the values of the Gospel.
“How to become sisters and brothers at the service of fraternity in a wounded world” is the reflection made, in the light of the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, in the first joint assembly of the International Union of Women Superiors General – UISG and the Union of Men Superiors General – USG , that took place from 26 to 28 May 2021, and questions female and male consecrated life on how to “continue to promote together fraternity and social friendship in the various realities on a world level”.
Mother observes that the theme of universal fraternity is in line with the principles of the Salesian charism and requires us to enter with courage and apostolic initiative into the perspective of “building communities attentive to taking care of those who are ‘on the ground’, wounded and in need of compassion.” The term fraternity can be translated into family spirit, an essential value of the Salesian charism and the Constitutions, the Life Project of the FMA, and it is significant to compare it with some aspects of the Encyclical which “in full harmony, help us to be brothers and sisters in contemporaneity with all its challenges and hopes”.
Mother encourages us “to make solidarity shine in the educational mission,” uniting in synergy with those who care for the good of children, young people, and families tried by the pandemic, to alleviate, among the many wounds, “the wound of educational poverty”. “It is in this reality that we must bet on education. Feeling as Samaritans with the fire of the da mihi animas in our hearts, ready to be co-creators of a new future”.
Beginning from the Global Pact for Education announced by Pope Francis in the Message of 12 September 2019, she recalls some important steps, ‘pillars’ of education necessary to build the educational village today. Starting afresh from the person, as a response to the current anthropological change; Invest the best energies with creativity, responsibility, and joy as the FMA educational Institute; Form people willing to put themselves at the service of the community with competence and dedication, so that every young person may develop their potential to the maximum and express themselves in freedom and responsibility.
Mother Yvonne Reungoat shares that “These are reflections dictated by a heart that loves you, that loves the mission, that only desires the salvation of young people, that sees in them the present and the future of the Church and of society. “The Institute trusts all of you and each one in particular (…) to give fruitfulness and new visibility to the charism, a gift in the Church, to the young people of the whole world”.