Category Archives: Mazzarelli

Salesian Sisters Make Pilgrimage to Rocchetta Shrine

Saying Rosary outside La Rocchetta shrine.

LA ROCCHETTA LERMA, N. Italy (C.M. Paul) – The Project Mornese English language group of Sisters went on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Graces shrine at La Rocchetta Lerma after lunch, 26 June. A group of 12 Sisters went by foot in the blazing sun on an 8 km route by road with Sr Edna Mary Mac Donald. While a second group of 12 Sisters went by bus covering 6 kms with Sr Maire O’Byrne. Four senior Sisters were given a drop by car to the hill-top shrine where Maria Mazzarello would take her girls and Sisters for outings. The last bit of the hill-cart road to the shrine is rather steep climb which takes about 25 minutes.
The main Sanctuary “Our Lady of Rocchetta“, built in 1290 is on one side of the river Piota. It depended on the monastery of Cistercian Nuns of Santa Maria di Banno. Beside the church is a building, originally used as a hospice for people travelling through the area.

Sisters await the line bus to return to Collegio.

In 1619, Agostino and Cecilia Spinola were Marquises of Lerma. They vowed to restore the shrine and place there a painting which they had in their castle if they were blessed with son. They were blessed with the birth of twins and a canvas of the children with their parents was placed above the main altar. The painting of Our Lady was inserted into the centre of this painting. Since then devotion to Our Lady of Rocchetta has grown among the inhabitants of Lerma and the surrounding areas. The shrine today is in a poor state of repair as it is seldom used. The valuables once housed there have been transferred to Lerma parish church.
The FMA Cronistoria records that in July 1876 “the day finished with a pleasant walk to the sanctuary of the Rocchetta, honoured by the company of the parish priest and the marquis and marchioness d’Oria of Mornese (II, 197).
It was here too that while the Sisters were on a pilgrimage-picnic to celebrate the feast of Mary Help of Christians, Mary [Mazzarello] made address for a little girl, who was in rags, from the petticoat of one of the Sisters (II, 249-250).
“When the assistant reported that we had been exceptionally good, Mother would arrange an outing to the sanctuary of Rocchetta. The picnic supplies would be sent ahead with a man who had a wagon. As you can imagine, the whole day was a real treat for us.” (Maccono I, 332).

Abp S. Ferrando SDB

On August 3rd 1976, a plaque was unveiled and blessed to commemorate Mary Mazzarello’s visits to the shrine. It is reported that Salesian Archbishop Stephen Ferrando of Shillong-Guwahati, founder of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians blessed the plaque. In early 1969, when the Government of India declared that foreign missionaries must be recalled and replaced by locals, Archbishop Ferrando resigned and retired to Italy, where he died June 21, 1978. He was born in Rossiglione N. Italy bordering Ovada close to Mornese, September 28, 1895. The Diocesan Inquest of Servant of God Stephan Ferrando opened on 8th October 2003 and concluded on 3rd August 2006.

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Filed under Bishops, Don Bosco, Maria Mazzarello, Mazzarelli, Nun's Story, Project Mornese, Salesian, Salesian Sisters, School, Stephen Ferrando

Salesian Sisters experience desert day

Asian cultural symbols at the Eucharist.

MORNESE, N. Italy (C.M. Paul) – The Sisters of the project Mornese English speaking group had a unique day. They called it the desert day. After Morning Prayer and breakfast, each Sister put together her own lunch packet. Being a Friday, there was neither salami nor prosciutto to put into their pannino. Sr. Ines, in charge of the kitchen had instead omelets prepared which they gladly put in their sandwich buns.
They also picked up a packet of juice, a fruit (banana or apple or a pear), as well as some wafers and bread sticks. More enterprising sisters also picked up yogurt left over from the breakfast.
The animators told the Sisters they could go any where for the whole day only on one condition that they report back for 5.00 pm Eucharist at the Collegio chapel.

Sr Ines stirring up polenta -photo by Sr Loretta

Some of the more adventurous Sisters went over to Valponasco (40 minutes walk) , others to the Mazzarelli (20 minutes walk), still others spent the day at the Collegio devoting quality time in silent prayer at the room of Mother Mazzarello, or sat at the Mornese well. Some even went over to the parish Church or to the village, while others hit the road to the open fields.
The day was exceptionally fine with bright sun and clear sky. In the evening the Sisters returned for the Eucharistic celebration on the theme of Praise and Thanksgiving for the days spent thus far – learning, praying and living the spirit of St Maria Mazzarello.

Bangalore province with Animators

The evening concluded with written evaluation and group discussion on Project Mornese. It was followed by a presentation on Project Jerusalem which is a similar on-going formation programme for the Salesian Sisters, similar to the Project Mornese. It is hoped that the programme which started off in 2006 will provide opportunity to every Salesian Sister to see, touch and live in the land of Jesus for some three months. To date nine groups of Sisters have gone through the programme which was the dream child of Mother General Catherine Daghero when she visited Holy Land in 1906.

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Filed under Don Bosco, Maria Mazzarello, Mazzarelli, Nun's Story, Project Jerusalem, Project Mornese, Salesian Sisters, Valponasca