Rome (Italy). On December 4 and 5, 2019, a large group of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from the Generalate community, including 11 General Councilors, visited the exhibit “Mater Amazonia: The deep breath of the world” at the Vatican Museums. The exhibit is the first to be staged in the renovated spaces of the Vatican Ethnological Museum Anima Mundi.
The exhibit was inaugurated last October during the Panamazon Synod, a Synod commissioned by Pope Francis and dedicated to this complex region and its populations.
Mater Amazonia is a space of life and of culture, made up of many faces, which allows visitors to immerse themselves in that reality and admire all its beauty, but also to know its problems, challenges, and threats, both to nature and to the people who inhabit it.
The protagonists of the multimedia presentations that make up the Exhibit, in addition to the original peoples and missionaries, are the three ‘environments’ of daily life: the forest, the river, the ‘maloca’, that is, the community house.
Mater Amazonia tells not only the relationship between humans and the environment, but also the meeting of the Christian faith with the indigenous peoples, and how these have assimilated the Gospel into many aspects of their lives. This exhibit intends to solicit a profound reflection on some great themes so dear to Pope Francis and to the native populations of those lands: concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society. It is an original way in which images, objects, and sounds contribute to sensitizing people’s consciences about the region that is the ‘green lung’ of the planet.
Visiting Mater Amazonia it is also possible to ‘listen’ to the testimony of lay people, religious, and priests who, through their eyes, tell of a life spent because of the Gospel, given without measure, until the end. In a large panel within the exhibit, in fact, 19 Amazonia Witnesses are presented, of which 12 were killed because they stood by the poor and the indigenes and denounced a political-economic action based on profit that ignores the rights of children. Among the witnesses there are also Blessed Sister Maria Troncatti, FMA and the Salesian, Father Luigi Bolla.
The Generalate group was accompanied by Father Antonio Rovelli, Consolata Missionary, who presented the exhibit with much passion and missionary enthusiasm, as well as underlining the importance of keeping alive attention on the Amazon reality. Now that the Panamazon Synod is over, in fact, while waiting for the document from Pope Francis, we run the risk of ‘turning the page’ and not talking about the Amazon anymore. Instead, it is urgent and necessary to keep our consciences alive and to continue to make people aware, because ‘everything is interconnected’ and the Amazon – metaphorically – is present on all continents, in the sense that life depends on the harmony and care of the Common home by safeguarding Creation.
For the FMA, the Amazon and all that happens there is of exceptional importance, because in that land the charism of Don Bosco and of Mother Mazzarello is present, a part of the history of the Salesian Family lives and develops there. There is a past and a present, which leads us not only to look at the future, but to build it, working alongside the neediest and the indigenous peoples.
For schools, a visit to Mater Amazonia: The deep breath of the world is free, just contact the Consolata Missionaries (Father Antonio Rovelli), at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.