Alì Terme (Italy). To celebrate and remember Blessed Maddalena Morano, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, and to officially sign a path of proximity that took place in recent years, on 26 March 2023, the anniversary date of her birth into heaven, in Alì Terme in the province of Messina, near the urn containing her mortal remains, was signed a Pact of friendship between the Municipality of Montaldo Torinese and that of Alì Terme. The agreement was signed by the respective Mayors, Sergio Gaiotti and Carlo Giaquinta, in the presence of the Vicar General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Maria del Rosario García Ribas, and the Provincial of the Sicilian Province Mother Maddalena Morano, Sr. Angela Maria Maccioni.
In common between the two countries there is the figure of Mother Maddalena Morano, born in Chieri, lived in Buttigliera d’Asti, primary school teacher in Montaldo Torinese for fourteen years and later, as a religious, sent to Sicily, died in Catania, and buried at her behest in Ali Terme.
It was a significant recognition of the story that began with the life of a woman who knew how to work beyond all borders and prejudices: Piedmontese, but Sicilian with Sicilians, fully enculturated in the land she loved through her educational apostolate.
The Pact seals the commitment to consolidate profitable relations of solidarity, meeting, cultural exchange, friendship, and knowledge between the two Municipalities, as stated on the plaque engraved for the occasion.
Thanking for the invitation, Sr. Maria del Rosario expressed herself as follows, “We are very happy as an Institute to contribute our little mustard seed to this world that seeks something different. We recently had the General Chapter, where we reaffirmed that many things are played out in presence. Presence generates life. Being present where the Lord has placed us, with all our heart, with all the strength of our life is something generative in the place where we are. This is the experience of Mother Maddalena Morano, who knew how to be present.
I think this is the reason why you chose it for your reality, because the presence among your fellow citizens, among the most vulnerable people, will be the great gift to our contemporaneity which needs signs like this morning. In the anonymity of a place, fresh air is generated which is not lost, which does good and brings a message of novelty to our youth that has so much need of true friendship, true fraternity, of living in solidarity. Signing a pact of this kind somehow says this, that we want to be fellow citizens of a different land, where all the potential can truly flourish and where we can be happy in this common home”.
Following the historic moment of the signing, there was the Eucharistic Celebration, presided over by the Archbishop of Messina – Lipari – Santa Lucia del Mela, Msgr. Giovanni Accolla, in the Sanctuary dedicated to Mary Help of Christians.
In the afternoon, on the seafront of Ali Terme, the pilgrimage of numerous catechists of the local Dioceses took place, a journey that retraced the main stages of the life and holiness of the Blessed, declared “Patroness of Catechists and Educators”.
In the fourth stage, speaking on the theme of Holiness, Sr. Maria del Rosario said:
“Let us allow ourselves to be infected again by the holiness of Mother Morano, a living example of simple, concrete, and fascinating holiness. In this way, we will have within us the greatest joy we can imagine and we will be signs of God’s love in everyday life, a perfume of the Gospel in our society. Thank you, Mother Maddalena Morano, your holiness encourages us and challenges us. Accompany our pilgrimage; we too want to have an attentive gaze on everyone, especially the neediest and most vulnerable. Help us to take ‘one look at the earth and ten at heaven’ and guide us in our commitment to be faithful disciples of Jesus and, like Mary, to always say ‘here I am’”.
The pilgrimage started from Mother Morano Square, which commemorates Sister Magdalene with a bronze bust accompanied by the phrase she used to address to those who met her, “Open your heart to hope”.
This invitation still resounds today, in a world where there is a need for peace and where education is still an emergency to which the attention of the heart and industrious intelligence must be given.