Rome (Italy). On 17 December 2023, at the Generalate of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Communities of Rome of the Preprovince Mary Mother of the Church (RMC) expressed Christmas Greetings to Mother, Sister Chiara Cazzuola, and to the General Councilors.

Joyful faith in the Incarnation of the Son of God, who renews the meaning of human life and of the whole of creation, united to the tension towards the condition of so many brothers and sisters “tormented by violence and misery, surrounded by the ruins of homes, families and dreams destroyed,” and the incessant request for the gift of peace, were the background for the reflection.

“Many of us come from countries tormented by violence and instability, which affect families and young people. Can it make sense to talk about joy and peace at such a difficult time?” This is the question raised by the leading voice, and then converted to hope. “We women, allied with the God of life, want to harmonize anxiety and hope, to listen to some voices of poets who interpret the nostalgia for a gift that is here among us, but that not everyone is able to recognize.”

The reading of three poems – by Salvatore Quasimodo, Alda Merini, Dietrich Bonhoeffer – was followed by the singing “King of Kings”, performed by the great choir composed of all the communities, and the presentation, by the Superior of Preprovince, Sister Jessica Salvaña, of their compositions and realities of commitment. “Gathered around you, who carry in your heart all the communities of the Institute, in our daily internationality, we seek to grow in the culture of encounter, to be credible peacemakers,” was the wish.

In her words Mother Chiara, without losing sight of the dramatic nature of the present time, nourished hope. “Our hope in these moments is rekindled because the Mystery of Christmas surprises us once again; it reminds us that the Lord is near. The liturgy of this Gaudete Sunday calls us to joy, not because we do not notice the misfortunes around us, but because we are Christians and have put all our faith in the Lord Jesus. Moreover, we are Salesians and, in our identity, joy is a fundamental element, because it comes from the fact of always feeling we are in the hands of the Lord, never alone, and this gives us the strength to look ahead.”

She then urged them to accept Him with two attitudes in particular: the sincere humility of the shepherds “that makes the heart open to the Mystery” and the true wisdom of the Magi, “the taste for the things of God,” that leads them to follow the star until it rests next to the Mystery. Finally, she expressed the hope of “being able to give peace, disarming the heart,” as Pope Francis suggests.

“The people who were in darkness, saw a great Light” (Mt 4:16) is the verse that inspired the wish of the Novices of the International Novitiates Mary Help of Christians of Castel Gandolfo (Rome) and Sister Teresa Valsè Pantellini of Rome – Via Appia, of the Roman Province of St. John Bosco (IRO), 20 December 2023.

Through the song, the Word of God, poetry, and invocations in different languages, they wished Mother and the Counselors to “continue to be light in the night of the world, witnesses of the joy and infinite love of God for humanity.” With a lit candle brought in the dark to illuminate the world drawn on a window, the Novices brought out the message, “Your joy will invade us.”

Thanking them, Mother wished them to be “artisans of peace” – because peace is a gift that must be built and nourished from the heart; “to be women capable of working peace” in their personal life and in the life of their community, since, “Someone’s positive actions benefit everyone (the negative ones do not).” Taking up the liturgy of this Christmas season, she stressed the difference between the reception of the words of the angel Gabriel by Zechariah and Mary. Both remain troubled but, while Zechariah expresses his reservations, Mary is fully available. Thus, Mother invited us to live these days of waiting for Christmas in the full trust and abandonment of Mary, letting ourselves be accompanied by Her, “the Mother who never abandons us.”

On both evenings of greetings, the reciprocal presentations, an unpublished popular song “Stille Nacht” performed in the many and different languages spoken by Mother and the Councilors, and a time of conviviality and fraternity, highlighted the aspect of internationality as the richness and beauty of an Institute present in the five continents.



  1. ‘Eis que vos anuncio uma grande alegria ‘. Deus renova seu amor e fidelidade connosco e opta por vir habitar em nosso meio. Gratidão eterna por tão grande amor. Boas vindas Emanuel. Feliz Natal


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