The seminars are preliminary instances of exposition of the research papers that will be presented at the 2020 ACSSA World Congress. "Throughout history there has been a rich legacy of the Salesian charism and its significant figures," said the President of the association, Fr Francesco Motto, SDB.
Then, in the first general conference, Fr Motto spoke about the importance of preserving memory in order to write one's own history and to build one's own identity. "To have an identity we must remember and write history. And history is written starting from documentary sources." He then recalled that Don Bosco insisted very much that in the various Salesian houses the chronicles be written and documents kept and safeguarded.
The topics of the presentations and debates were many and of high quality. The report "Prominent Women in the Field of Missions" was presented, coordinated by Sr. Ana María Fernández; Jenny Cruzat, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) of Peru, spoke on the figure of "Sister Maria Victoria Orihuela" (1859-1911), while Sister Gloria García Pereira spoke on "Sister Maria Concepción Posada Posada" (1903-1996).
Dr. Laura Mombello introduced the theme "Traces of the present in life stories" followed by the reports: "Prominent women in the field of education and school"; "Martina Petrini Prado, FMA"; "Sister Isabel Moreno (1890-1962)"; "Sister Anna Maria Coppa, founder of the first Catholic “Normal” Institute in Ecuador from 1940 to 1965". Other presentations concerned: "Workers' circles, parish networks and political participation"; "Mons. Jaime de Nevares: 'Father Jaime', Pastor of Neuquén (1915-1995)"; "Giacomini and Magallanes. The flowering of obedience."
The seminar was a way to reflect on the historical work of the Salesians and the FMA in the early years of their presence in Latin America. "This event was attended by a large number of people, with reports and quality studies," commented Fr Motto at the end, "and we have reached a professional and updated collaboration from each of the participants. Now it is necessary to think about the future of the ACSSA, not only in Congresses and Seminars. The role of the Provincials is important because they allow and stimulate dedication to Salesian history. It is necessary to create a common opinion, a cultural policy of the Congregation. Each member must commit himself to personally disseminating the experience of these seminars in their own houses, and especially the need to continue to think and reflect on Salesian history."