Re-Charged Sisters Take Back Charism to Communities

Sr Rita Fernandes of Mumbai as Mother Mazzarello

ROME, (C.M. Paul) – The 31 Salesian Sisters of the Project Mornese English speaking group left Mornese, Northern Italy for Rome, 29 June, after a month-long spiritual rejuvenation programme held in three phases at Rome, Turin and Mornese. After a brief stop over to visit the Field of the Miracles at Pisa, the Sisters had lunch at the FMA Hostel for University students next door, before leaving for Rome. The Sisters hailed from three continents (N.America, Europe and Asia) and 10 countries.
“In Rome we could touch, breathe and see the roots of our Christian faith,” says Sr Lucy Mannukulangara from New Delhi recalling the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. She was one of 15 Sisters hailing from six FMA provinces in India.

Pounding wheat, symbol of the daily grind!

For Sr Regina Joseph of Chennai one of the oldest members of the group who studied in Turin some 40 years ago, “returning to Valdocco and spending five days in the place where Don Bosco, the co-founder of the Salesian Sisters, lived and worked was nostalgic. The visit to the basilica of Mary Help of Christians from where thousands of Salesians, Salesian Sisters and Cooperators left for the missions was soul stirring.”
While for Sr Rita Fernandes of Mumbai province, “the 18 days spent at Morenese the cradle of the charism of the Salesian Sisters were unforgettable days.”
“Each day brought us a fresh experience taking us through the origins and development of Maria Domenica Mazzarello’s call, as well as the birth and growth of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians,” adds Sr Rita who appeared dressed as St Maria Mazzarello and encouraged the Sisters to carry the renewed fervour of the charism to 16 provinces they came from.
“It is not only a pilgrimage, it is a time of grace and a call to transformation,” says Sr Josephine Savarimuthu of Bangalore province working in Warrangal, Andhra Pradesh. She spells out “family spirit, togetherness, unity in diversity – lived and enjoyed and shared at table, recreation, outings, witnessing and spiritual accompaniment,” as things that inspired her in the programme.

Sr Edna Mary on return trip to Rome

“The well prepared presentations by the animators Sr. Maire and Sr Edna Mary helped us to grasp the Salesian charism in its pristine beauty,” says Sr. Fatima Jebamalaimary who has been a Salesian Sister for 35 years and retired as Headmistress in Chennai.
“It is really interesting to see the holy places of our saintly Founders St. Maria Domenica and Don Bosco (Valdoco, Valponasca, Mornese, Roverno and Nizza), visit the places of St Francis of Assissi, Dominic Savio, as wells as the great basilicas in Rome and Turin,” recalls Sr.Rodriguez.Magdalene now working for street children in Coimbatore.
“This first phase of FMA renewal programme should have a second phase with Project Jerusalem for every Salesian Sister to see hear and touch Jesus in His own land,” blurts out Sr Leeza Kokkattu and Indian missionary working in Cambodia for some ten years.

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