Turin (Italy). From 26 July to 14 August 2021, six young university students left Turin (Italy) for a missionary experience at the Oratory of the Multifunctional Center of St. Mary D. Mazzarello of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Torre Annunziata, Naples, Southern Province of Our Lady of Good Council (IMR).
The young women participated in the Departure Course for Salesian Missionary Animation organized by the Youth Ministry of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Mary Help of Christians Province(IPI) and of the Salesians of Don Bosco of the Special Circumscription of Mary Help of Christians (ICP) and on 22 May 2021, they replied “Here I am” to the Missionary Mandate, making themselves available for the Summer Experience.
Accompanied by Sr. Cristina Stara, FMA of the IPI Province, they were hosted by the FMA Community of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello of Torre Annunziata, sharing moments of prayer, fraternal exchange, and recreation with the sisters.
The young Turinese experienced an intense rhythm of life, alternating the animation service with the children of the day center, formation meetings with 15 young people of the Civil Service, the main recipients of the missionary project, activities, games, and workshops with the participants of ‘Summer Youth. The presence of and sharing with Sr. Angela Trinchillo, FMA responsible for the Oratory, helped them to get to know and insert themselves tactfully into the local reality.
“3 steps, one journey” is the theme of the Youth Summer offered to young people aged 14 to 20, with games, workshops, and formation activities which, through the metaphor of the journey divided into three steps – “get on the road”, “Walk”, and “do not stop” – guided the participants in the gradual discovery of themselves and of others, in an atmosphere of family and sharing.
The creation of a Mural, which combines the Salesian charismatic elements, the window of the Valponasca and the fountain of Valdocco, the view of Torre Annunziata, the symbols, and the slogan of the Youth Summer, involved the young people of the Oratory to give their contribution with freedom and creativity, in an atmosphere of meaningful friendship.
The young missionaries who experienced a beautiful welcome and a request for discussion on the part of the young people of Torre Annunziata, summarize the experience as follows:
“Mission is to let ourselves be emptied and filled up again: by the reality we encountered, which often left us full of questions and by the young people who, by showing us their poverty, unmasked ours. And in the end they find ourselves much richer than when they left” (Giulia)
“Leaving for a mission land that was not what was expected, we realized that, before going far, it is good to give yourself to those close to you. Your mission is not defined by the destination, but by the people you meet on your path” (Carola)
“The three weeks in Torre Annunziata were a continuous discovery of the reality that surrounded us and aspects of ourselves that had never been questioned. In the end, the fatigue was proportional to the emotions and experiences lived” (Cecilia)
“The mission turned out to be a real call from the Lord to encounter a reality that bothers you, leaving silence and sometimes powerlessness. Mission was to meet the Lord even where he doesn’t seem to be” (Anna)
“Going to Mission is a training to broaden the heart and make room for the encounter with the Other in truth. The mission is not only to touch with one’s hand, but to let oneself be touched in one’s fragility” (Erica)
“Mission is to train the heart to meet Jesus where He is least expected: the first land on which to work were our hearts, which had to make themselves docile, available, and welcoming to make a home with the young people who accompanied us in these three weeks” (Lisa)
“It is an experience that does not end with the end of the three weeks, because it opens onto a much broader horizon: a ‘don’t stop’ that has the perfume of infinity, of eternity. It is a story made up of encounters: among the young Torre Annunziata and us girls from Turin with this land, with Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, and with the Lord, to come to understand that the key to a full life is a life given” (Giulia).