150th Anniversary of the foundation of the Salesian Sisters
Posted: Fri, 05 Aug 2022 09:54
Today marks the 150th Anniversary of the foundation of the Salesian Sisters. The Salesian Sisters were initially led by St Mary Mazzarello.
Below is a message from Sr Chiara Cazzuola, the Superior General of the FMA.
Dearest Sisters, dearest young people, collaborators, friends, Salesian Family members, I greet you from Mornese, our home, our center of unity and, as Psalm 87 affirms speaking of Jerusalem, we can also say of this town, "all of us were born here". This will always be the place where the eyes of all the FMA are turned because the holiness of our Mother Mary D. Mazzarello wrote words of life on its stones, its walls, its furrows, in the depths of the spirit. And today, with the heart in Mornese, from every community in the world, from sunrise to sunset, a hymn of praise and gratitude is raised to God for the marvels He has worked in the history and in the life of each one of us.
On this 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute, each of us renews the Covenant of Love with the Lord and expresses profound gratitude for the full and abundant life of the young people who are entrusted and will be entrusted to us. Together we celebrate the vitality and freshness of a charism that is incarnated in time and in many cultural contexts of the world.
It was precisely on 5 August 1872 that Don Bosco gave the name to our religious Family that is all Mary's, "Have as your glory the beautiful title of Mary Help of Christians, and often think that your Institute must be the living monument of Don Bosco's gratitude to the Great Mother of God, invoked under the title Help of Christians." Don Bosco sees in Mary the founder and inspirer of his work. From the beginning of the Institute, She is the true Superior because She is the Mother (cf. C 114).
Mother Mazzarello's gesture each night of placing the keys of the house at the feet of the statue of Mary Help of Christians is a concrete expression of total trust in Her help and the acknowledgement of her loving and constant presence.
Let us renew this confidence in Her presence and entrust ourselves to Her so that She may continue to be for us, Mother and Helper and guide us in the current challenges so that we may regard them as new calls of God.
Reviewing the 150 years of history, today I desire to thank in a special way the missionary Sisters of the first hour sent by Don Bosco and by Mother Mazzarello, and all the missionaries who followed them in time, who carried out and continue to carry out the fundamental task of spreading and making grow the Salesian charism for the good of the littlest ones and the poorest, in the most diverse conditions and contexts.
My gratitude is for all of you dear Sisters, for the joyful gift of your life to the Lord in our beautiful Religious Family. I am convinced that the greatest treasure of our Institute is not the buildings, even though they are lovely and efficient, but rather each one of you with your fidelity to Jesus and to the mission He entrusts to you.
The most precious treasure our Institute possesses is the life of each FMA, whether she carries out tasks of animation and government, or works in the silence of her daily life. A treasure is the young Sister full of energy and vitality, and a treasure is the elderly or sick Sister who has consumed her whole life for the realization of the da mihi animas – I entrust them to you.
Without you, dear Sisters, we would not be able to look towards the future.
I thank the Confreres and the entire Salesian Family with whom we have the grace of sharing a common spirituality and the same journey of holiness.
Thank you to all the friends who share the charism and who believe with us in education as the factor for social and ecclesial transformation.
Thank you to all the young people, to all the children that God and Mary Help of Christians entrust to us on the five Continents, and to the persons who are part of our life and of our history.
To celebrate is to give thanks for the journey taken, but it is also looking towards the future, at the journey that continues. We again refer to Mother Mazzarello because her educational commitment prompted her to start from immediate needs, to rekindle hope, to orient towards values, to a wide-ranging mission of which today we are a sign and its world-wide actualization.
The reality which we are living asks us to keep our gaze attentively fixed on the young people so that without ever betraying the charismatic fruitfulness of the origins, we may know how to continue to make the charism flourish in time and in cultures, orienting our choices towards the good of young people and especially of women.
In GC XXIV, as FMA, we re-affirmed the educative perspective of the Preventive System as the power that can involve the young people in a common project. On this horizon, integral formation in the Christian anthropological vision becomes the commitment to accompany them, supporting them in the search for the meaning of life, in building a future of peace, of fraternity, of responsibility for the common home.
In the depiction of the sanctuary built in the centenary of the foundation of the Institute (1972) at the Mazzarelli in Mornese, the Help of Christians is reaching out towards Mary Mazzarello. May she come to help all of us as well on the journey that opens to the future, so that in seeking new ways for education, we do not lose the original inspiration but remain faithful to the radical nature of the da mihi animas cetera tolle and of the I entrust them to you. May she support the journey of holiness of each of us and of our Educating Communities, because holiness is the most beautiful face of the Institute, the secret of its missionary and vocational vitality.
Happy feast and good continuation of the journey!
Sr. Chiara Cazzuola
Superior General of the FMA Institute