Without the others we cannot be ourselves10 March 2022
At home with Mary
Rome (Italy). In article 11 of the Identity Card of the Salesian Family we read, "Don Bosco having experienced in the foundation and development of his work that "’Mary did everything,’ even with extraordinary interventions, dedicated the nascent Congregation to the Virgin with the title of Help of Christians. Then, receiving inspiration from Mary to found the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, he wanted it to be a ‘living monument’ of his gratitude to the Help of Christians."
This special reference to Mary has profoundly marked the charismatic and Salesian identity of the Institute. Don Bosco built a monument with ‘living stones’ and a precise name, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. A living, dynamic, creative, ever-expanding monument capable of influencing society and the Church, doing ‘great good’ to young people. The FMA, therefore, are called to be like her 'helpers' among young people, with a privileged gaze towards the poorest who await hope and trust in life (cf. C 4 and 65).
Having started everything with Mary in the simplicity of Don Bosco's faith, urges us today to grow in this absolute trust in Mary, which assures us of her presence as Mother of the Church and of the Salesian Family. The words that Don Bosco addressed to the FMA in his last meeting in Nizza Monferrato in 1885, Mary walks in this house (cf. Cronistoria V, 51-52), evoke a reality, a certainty rooted in faith and in the Salesian charism, a lived experience that endures over time. At Mornese, Mary accompanies the young Maìn and guides her, above all in the uncertainty about her future, towards a new horizon of the mission, to take care of poor girls by giving her a precise mandate, “I entrust them to you”. Mary is loved, known, implored, and imitated above all in the contemplation of Jesus, who for Maìn and her friends, is transformed into active charity, “we will teach the girls to sew with the main purpose of making them good and making them know the Lord.”
Mary is present as protector, guide, and inspiration in helping to live the generative power of the Mornese charism in the today of history. "Mary walks in each of our houses. A certainty that always gives us courage, especially in the difficulties that may pose challenges in the mission, the various relational and social contexts, infirmities. Mary walks in each of our houses. A certainty that gives us joy, makes us welcoming and loving, daring." (cf. Message of Mother Chiara Cazzuola, 8 December 2022)
On 5 August 2022, the FMA Institute celebrates the 150th anniversary of Foundation, an opportunity for renewal and of vocational and missionary revitalization, a commitment to continue living the generative power of Don Bosco's charism, lived in the feminine at Mornese and Nizza Monferrato in a creative and genial way by Mother Mazzarello and the first communities of Mornese, together with the young women and lay collaborators.
May the presence of Mary in the FMA Institute and her powerful help encourage us to go forward with enthusiasm in the educational mission, accompanied, preceded, guided by Her.
Gabriella Imperatore, FMA