|Italy – FMA: Preparing for their 23rd General Chapter|
|RMG – Interview with Mother Reungoat 2/2: The world of youth and her own story|
|Italy – 5th August 1872/2012: 140 years of service to the young|
(ANS – Mornese) – ‘I have come to Mornese, just as Don Bosco did 140 years ago. He came to set up the Institute, together with Mother Mazzarello. I have come to give praise to the Lord who has worked wonders with you.’ So began the message which the Rector Major sent to Mother Yvonne Reungoat on the 5th August, the 140th anniversary of the foundation. In this little village in Alto Monferrato, cradle of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Don Chávez presided at the perpetual profession of five FMA.
Arriving on the evening of 4th August, the Rector Major spoke to the sisters who were concluding their retreat. He reminded them that Consecrated Life was going through a severe crisis, but was more indispensable than ever. ‘In a secular world Consecrated Life is necessary to affirm the absoluteness of God; in a neo-liberal world Consecrated Life is necessary to affirm the option for the poorest and the least in society; in a world where individualism is making ever greater headway Consecrated Life is a prophecy of fraternity.’
During the festivities on 5th August Sister Emilia Musatti, Vicar General, represented Mother Reungoat who was celebrating the 140th in Colombia.
The message of the Rector Major to the FMA Superior General continued as follows. ‘This celebration was planned and intended as a great stimulus for the spiritual renewal and pastoral conversion of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, so that they can continue to be a sign of the anticipating love of God for girls and young women today. I am delighted that it has been preceded by so many initiatives throughout the Institute and that it is accompanied by the first professions and renewals of profession of so many sisters in formation and by the perpetual profession of so many other sisters.
‘This is a beautiful sign and a demonstration of the fidelity of God and of yourselves. It is like the birth of many new hands, embracing your project of life, and that of Don Bosco. In this way the continuation and development of this work born of God’s initiative is ensured, through the power of the Spirit and the motherly collaboration of Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians.
‘At Mornese, where all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians are gathered spiritually with you, I invite you to respond to the Lord’s magnanimity as Mary responded in her Magnificat. Raise to Him a song of thankfulness and praise for the marvels he has worked in you and through you.
‘Dearest Mother Yvonne, today you have a beautiful story to tell about your Institute, with examples from the expansion, the growth of vocations and the holiness of the sisters. However it is not enough to look back on the past with gratitude. The 140th Anniversary is an occasion to face up to the present, so different from the days of your origins, with fidelity and courage to respond to the new challenges which our life and mission must take into account. But not only this. The 140th Anniversary is also an opportunity to dream the future with imagination and generosity, with even greater fidelity to God, to the Church and to Society, in particular to the world of youth.’ (Don Pascual Chávez SDB)
Mother Reungoat replied from South America: ‘Thank you for your precious words and for your fatherly heart which is so like that of Don Bosco. 140 years ago our founder went to Mornese for the first professions of 11 young women as FMA. It is good that today his Ninth Successor is repeating the visit to give praise to the Lord.
‘There are so many life stories in these 140 years. But as well as cultivating memories of the past, we wish to launch ourselves into the future where we expect challenges and opportunities we intend to meet, combining ‘imagination and generosity’ as you recommend. Here in America, the echo of Maria Domenica’s letter is still alive.
‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your message and also for this exquisite gesture of going to Mornese on a day so significant for us. I greet you with the words that Maria Domenica often used to end her letters: We will meet again in the Heart of Jesus.
‘Mary Help of Christians will help us to sing the Magnificat together for the great things God has accomplished in each of his daughters and in these 140 years of the history of the Institute.
‘Heartfelt thanks also, Fr Pascual, for your blessing. In return I send my affectionate greetings, united with prayer for your restoration to full health.’