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(ANS – Mornese) – Following tradition, yesterday 26 April, the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians celebrated the “Feast of Gratitude” to the Superior General Mother Yvonne Reungoat. In Mornese, cradle of the Institute of the Salesian Sisters, Mother Yvonne took part in the first of three celebrations planned for this year on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Institute. For the occasion the Rector Major sent a message of congratulations to the Superior General of the FMA.
A very deep-rooted tradition among the FMA is the “Feast of Gratitude” with the Superior General as its subject. Originally celebrated on the nameday of the Mothers General it was then kept on the 26 April, liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Good Counsel, by Mother Ersilia Canta. All the FMA in the world join in the celebration at least spiritually. The feast in Mornese yesterday was broadcast via radio, live television and the official site of the FMA.
This year the “Feast of Gratitude” was marked by the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Institute. On this account the programme was in three phases: the first celebrated yesterday in Mornese, the first FMA house; the second in Saint Cyr (France), the first house opened outside Italy: the third on 30 April at Kaisiadorys (Lithuania) the last house opened in East Europe (2009).
The day began with a celebration around the well in the courtyard of the first Institute; then Mother Reungoat was made an Honorary Citizen of Mornese. In a lively manner the FMA Superior expressed her gratitude and dedicated the official symbol given her to the first Sisters at Mornese who 140 years ago were the fruitful seed from which there has been a flowering all round the world. At the end of the morning Mother Reungoat gave a message on “Radio Maria”, the national Catholic radio station.
Two events held in the afternoon were broadcast live on television thanks to Missioni Don Bosco, on Telepace and in streaming. First the Mass at which Bishop Pier Giorgio Micchiardi of the diocese of Acqui presided and among the numerous con-concelebrants was Fr Stefano Martoglio, Provincial of Piedmont and the Val d’Aosta. There was then a Academy in which several FMA representatives took part.
“Our spirituality flows from the heart of the same Father who as Don Rua often remarked, had only souls at heart,” the Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez wrote in a message he sent to Mother Reungoat – (…) “Mother Mazzarello interpreted this apostolic passion in its feminine aspect. With your first Sisters she lived out in creative fidelity the Founder’s plan, giving rise to the ‘spirit of Mornese.”
Fr Chávez expressed his hope that the “Feast of Gratitude” might be “a special occasion for reflection on an ever more significant presence of your communities, capable, through their daily mission of nourishing a strong atmosphere of witness and a culture of vocational which might help the young to find their own life plan and live it to the full.”
In a special greeting to Mother Reungoat the Rector Major said: “The title of Mother is very beautiful. First of all it indicates someone who ‘gives life’ to her Daughters, who accompanies them and helps them grow; who enlightens them with wisdom, who urges them to aim high. May Mary Help of Christians, Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello accompany you in your service of government and animation in these difficult times, warming the hearts of your Sisters and inviting them to the ‘sequela Christi’ marked by deep-rootedness and joy.”
The full text of the message of the Rector Major to Mother Reungoat is available in Italian on the FMA site.