On the 14h May, the Church at St. Jude's Scoresby, Melbourne came alive with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians founded by Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello in 1872.
The families of the Salesian Sisters, friends, collaborators, past pupils and youth of all ages gathered for a celebratory Mass of thanksgiving for the blessings of the past 150 years of the Salesian Sisters’ Charism.
With great joy and gratitude for their commitment and dedication to their call as FMAs, we celebrated our jubilarians, who during the Mass, were honoured and presented with a beautiful candle and with the wishes and prayers of those present.
Mass was celebrated by Fr. John Murphy, who was joined by Fr. Peter Varengo, Fr. Anthony Quang, Fr. Cantamessa, Fr. Lawrie Moate and Fr. Samuel (assistant Parish Priest of St. Jude) in the celebration of Mass.
After the Eucharistic celebration a well provided lunch was the order of the day, in the convent hall. Here there was great chatter, meeting and greeting new and old friends and collaborators, fun and music, to mark this double celebration of 150 years, and honouring the jubilarians of our Province.
Thanks to all our families, friends, collaborators, past pupils and youth who joined us for this awesome celebration. Our deepest appreciation for all your support of our Spirituality, charism and mission.
The celebration was made even more special by celebrations of profession annivesaries, from left to right: Sr Patricia and Sr Edna Mary 60 years, Sr Maureen and Sr Maria 50 years, Sr Anna 25 years
We boldly go ahead with courage into the future, assured by the fact that "Mary Walks in this House" as Don Bosco said to the FMA community at Nizza Monferrato in 1885.
The solemn Eucharistic celebration commenced with the procession of Symbols significant to the spirituality and charism of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, with the following reflections:These symbols were present on the Altar for the celebration of mass.
The Window: Yes! For many, it is a small, insignificant window! But for Maria Mazzarello, it all began with that window - her journey into spirituality, a deep spirituality of ‘action and contemplation’ that would become the basis for thousands of FMAs and the young, the world over. From here, where silence is broken only by the wind that blows in every direction, Maria had learned to live an intense spiritual life. She learned the real meaning of contemplation which, according to the Gospel, makes one responsible for one’s brothers and sisters. Here at the window of her home at the Valponasca, Maria nurtured her religious vocation and brought it to maturity, even though she didn’t know how she could ever realise it.
The Well: Like St. Maria Mazzarello and the first group of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, we too gather at the well, a spiritual heritage left to us, a symbol full of meaning for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians over the past 150 years. As we draw water from the well, we draw from the source of Jesus the Living Water and from the source of our ever-living Salesian charism. Wherever we are present, everyone is invited to drink from this inexhaustible source which is the contemplation and apostolic passion of the spirit of St. Maria Mazzarello and the first group of Sisters in Mornese.
Image of Mary: “Mary walks in this house” were the words of Don Bosco at his last encounter with the FMA at Nizza Monferrato in 1885. “I want to say that the Virgin Mary is truly here, here right in your midst! The Virgin Mother walks in this House and covers it with her mantle”. Mary is constantly present amongst us. Her tender motherly care is tangibly felt in our communities, playgrounds and educational institutions. “Trust in Mary Help of Christians, and you’ll see what miracles are” said Don Bosco. Trust in Mary Help of Christians is a guarantee that no one will ever be unheard or forsaken .
Coat of Arms: The Salesian Sisters were established on the 5th of August 1872, when young Maria Mazzarello and 11 other young women made their first vows in the presence of Don Bosco. The name 'Daughters of Mary Help of Christians' was chosen by Don Bosco for this new congregation, and he desired the Sisters to be a ‘living monument’ of his gratitude to Mary Help of Christians. Today the FMAs number about 12 thousand and are present in 97 countries, living and working for and with the young.
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2022 edition of the Salesian Bulletin, which is available here!