Rome (Italy). On 30 May 2020, the meeting took place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic of the Italian Communication Commission of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, animated by Sister Anna Razionale, President of the Italian Center for Salesian Female Works – CIOFS and Head of the National Coordination. The Communication Coordinator of the Italian Interprovincial Conference – CII, Sr. Palmira De Fortunati, the Provincial of the Triveneta Province of St. Mary D. Mazzarello (ITV), and the Coordinators for Communication of the seven Provinces of Italy were connected.
The meeting opened with a formative session led by Prof. Pier Cesare Rivoltella, Full Professor of the Catholic University of Milan and founder of the Research Center on Media Education for Information and Technology (CREMIT) who since the Message of Pope Francis for the 54th World Day of Social Communications has facilitated the reflection on some characteristics of Salesian communication pedagogy.
The GMCS theme – So that you can recount and fix in memory. Life becomes history – has been focused on some testimonies of life related to the themes of the Message. With the narrative method of storytelling, Prof. Pier Cesare Rivoltella translated into practice some sentences of the text of Pope Francis:
We do not only weave clothes, but also stories – Educational communication as the ability to weave stories
The first reflection developed around the metaphor of communication as a tailoring activity. Each person weaves the threads of the speech; no coincidence that the Italian word testo derives from the Latin textus which means fabric. The text (not only the written one, but also the one that makes use of still or moving images) is in fact a semiotic unity of different and coherent parts, crossed by a communicative intentionality. Communicating educationally, each edu-communicator communicates texts and the space in which she writes them is the soul of the children entrusted to her. The witness of this first reflection is Domenic Savio, recalled in the episode of the dialogue with Don Bosco who says: “It seems to me that there is good cloth in you to make a suit to give to the Lord”. “So” – replies the young boy – “I am the cloth, you will be the tailor”.
“We need wisdom to welcome and create beautiful, true, and good stories” – The importance of the pedagogy of narration
The second reflection was on the Relator’s example of life, who recounted some episodes of his youth spent in a Salesian school. His class assistant used to ask the students to write a daily report on goodness. Once an adult, this was recognized by him as an exercise in wisdom. The pedagogy of narration generates faith. This is why there is a need for those who know how to create beautiful, true, and good stories, there is a need for weavers of stories such as Don Bosco who narrated anecdotes and episodes taken from the lives of the Saints.
“Educational expectation as a presence based on trust” – Patience and discernment to rediscover stories that help not to lose the thread.
The third reflection is on the theme of patience as an educational expectation. “Prevention consists in making the young person feel loved, in giving them trust, supervising, observing, understanding, helping, compassionating, accompanying, without ever replacing the young person’s freedom” (Pietro Braido). “A good story – says Pope Francis – is able to cross the boundaries of space and time. Centuries later, it remains current, because it nourishes life.”
“Each of us knows different stories that have the fragrance of the Gospel” – Find stories that have the fragrance of the Gospel and tell them, applying them to life.
The last invitation of Prof. Rivoltella was to look for stories that have the fragrance of the Gospel in the folds of everyday life and tell them. The stories of holiness must be disseminated and applied to one’s own life and that of the young people, becoming testimony. It is important to read the Gospel in an educational key and to conceive education as total salvation.
The Italian Communication Commission proposed to study the themes proposed by Prof. Pier Cesare Rivoltella, with the conviction that living the digital is one of the opportunities for the evangelization of young people, a privileged mission field for every Daughter of Mary Help of Christians.