|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|
|Italy – Mother Reungoat awarded the Legion of Honour|
|Italy – Feast of Gratitude: thank you Mother Yvonne… and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians|
(ANS – Rome) – Just before 5th August, a very significant date for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), ANS has put some questions to their Superior General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, about the Religious Institute which Don Bosco held to be a ‘living monument’ to Mary Help of Christians and about her role as Superior. Today we give the first part of the interview.
You have just carried out an Evaluation. What is the state of health of the FMA Institute? What challenges face it in the future?
At the moment there are two groups of inter-provincial Conferences which have yet to carry out their Evaluation of GCXXII, where the experiences and reflections of their Provinces will flow together. However, I think I can say, thanks to what I have also found out in my visitations, that the Institute is in good shape. The desire and commitment to revive our charism is alive and well in all the sisters. They feel the need to deepen their personal spirituality and to strengthen their prophetic message, basing it on its mystical roots. They have also noticed the need to focus on the evangelical nature of their relationships as FMA communities and as educating communities. The journey with lay people is becoming more apparent not only at the level of working together, but also in co-responsibility for the educational mission. They have become more committed to a renewed option for the poor, in a world becoming more and more impoverished, and they recognise the importance of building communities which are truly vocational, where young people feel welcomed and listened to and where they can clearly see the beauty and the energy of our charism.
To sum up: the journey of the Institute is somewhere between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’. However I think that the greatest challenge, embracing all the others, is that of hope.
The FMA Institute is celebrating 140 years of existence. What changes have there been in its identity and mission?
140 years of the Institute’s life is an important occasion for the entire Salesian Family. For us FMA it means the celebration of God’s fidelity and of our response to his love, a reason for joy and thankfulness. Don Bosco’s idea of giving girls the same opportunities that he was offering to his boys was realised thanks to the response of some young women in the Association of Mary Immaculate in Mornese who took up his suggestion of consecrating themselves to the Lord as religious following the Salesian spirit.In that little place in Monferrato, just as from a seed cultivated in good and fertile land, sprang forth the Institute; it was 5th August 1872. The FMA identity was clear from the start: women consecrated for the mission of evangelising through education, with a strong Marian identity. Don Bosco provided a powerful witness and Maria Domenica Mazzarello felt totally in harmony with his project of life and his method of education, the Preventive System. The Institute grew in a remarkable way and expanded to a presence which now reaches 94 nations in the world and numbers about 14,000 members who live and work in all five continents. The secret is in the energy of the Spirit which has given our religious Family a missionary dimension and a universal appearance. This identity has become richer over the years and our educational mission today embraces new frontiers, new fields to meet young people and reawaken in them a search for meaning, bringing them up to be good Christians and honest citizens, as Don Bosco wanted them to be. This programme has been taken up wholeheartedly by the FMA since their beginnings and today it is more and more linked to promotion of their fundamental rights and commitment to their evangelisation.