Italy – Rector Major to Daughters of Mary Help of Christians: "Mary Help of Christians will continue to work great miracles through you"

03 October 2022

(ANS - Rome) - Last Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, with the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by the Rector Major of the Salesians and Father and Center of Unity of the Salesian Family, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, the International Conference "Contribution of the FMA to Education (1872-2022). Paths, Challenges, and Perspectives" concluded in Rome. It was organized by the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences "Auxilium" on the occasion of the 150th founding of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA).

Combining remembrance with a renewed commitment to the future, the event intertwined several registers: historical, which highlighted the commitment to the education of generations of educators, female and male, who on the five continents have been capable of accompanying young people; pedagogical, in which highly topical questions were raised about what formation required to guarantee to remain equal to the needs of youth. Finally, the experiential horizon, with the presentation of two exploratory research papers that respectively investigated the experience of the FMA in 150 years of history and how today some nuclei of the Preventive System are conceived and applied by the FMA and lay collaborators in educating communities.

In the concluding session, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, Superior General of the FMA Institute, indicated a future perspective for the Institute, which in the 150th since its foundation intends to relaunch its educational mission in different contexts. For this reason, she reiterated that the Convention "was not just a celebratory event as the point of arrival of a long and careful preparation," but a "starting point for a new journey under the banner of responsibility toward the young people entrusted to us, toward our Founders, toward the Church and the society in which we are inserted, in the various geographical and cultural contexts."

Sealing the event was the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Rector Major and concelebrated by Fr. Francesco Motto and Fr. Stanisław Zimniak, SDB, President and Secretary, respectively, of the Association of Salesian History Scholars (ACSSA), which was an opportunity to give thanks to God for these 150 years and to ask St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello - who first believed in that message, "to you I entrust them" - to help all FMA to rededicate themselves to the Lord, for the work she continues to do even today in the FMA Institute, for the good of the youth.

In his homily, the Rector Major highlighted the 150-year journey of the FMA Institute, whose "history is full of educational miracles, of realities where love has healed so many lives, where you have succeeded in transforming cities, villages, spaces, and families... and this is a glorious page that is present today and will be present in the future, too."

Taking up the Word of God - "God has chosen what is weak in the world" (1 Cor. 1:27) - he emphasized that Mother Mazzarello's fortitude lay in her love as a mother, in weakness made strength, and in faith. And he, finally, concluded by saying, "I invite you to continue to believe that a beautiful future awaits us, which does not have so much to do with how many resources we have. The point where everything is played out is when a boy or girl, after meeting with us, goes away with a full heart because of a word from us, a smile, a look. I believe this was the fortitude of the first Community in Mornese, the first Community in Valdocco, the first missionaries, who had almost nothing but heroism and trust in God the Father. On the 150th anniversary of the Institute, I am convinced that in this way the Help of Christians will continue to work great miracles through you."


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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