We are creatures of time, and since the ticking clock governs our daily round, we are fascinated with it. How often in literature the passage of time is likened to a flowing river.
"In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time."
(Leonardo da Vinci)
The day-to-day business of making a living, and the fulfilment of our duties, make great demands on our energies. Immersed in a busy round of responsibilities, people and situations challenge us continually. Yet, if this becomes an unvarying routine, we could be missing out on some of the best things in life and one of those is the celebrations of anniversaries and meaningful, commemorative events.
"Time has a three-fold present:
the present as we experience it,
the past as a present memory and
the future as a present expectation."
Treasuring and remembering our past can provide the solution. History is to a nation what memory is to the individual. Remembering leads to appreciation and appreciation leads on the deepening relationships, allowing us to build on and to adapt our past to our future.
The year 2023 will offer the Salesian Family an opportunity for such an enriching experience for, in this year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Salesian Presence in in 1923. That year saw the coming of the Congregation of St Francis of Sales to the ‘Great South Land’ of Australia. On 30 March 1923, the first group of Salesian confreres, led by Bishop Ernesto Coppo SDB, reached Fremantle in Western Australia.
The years, that have flowed since then and the ticking clock have seen a rapid growth in apostolic works throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Indeed, the seeds sown in hardships and frustrations in the distant Kimberley, have grown into plants despite moments of difficulties, failures and loss of social appreciation.
It is indeed the time to remember. The year 2023 calls us to live it as a year of grace, “remembering where we come from, who we are, and where we are heading.”During this year we will be borne along on a veritable stream of memories and celebrations of the great events of the past 100 years. So let it be.
Remembrance is a gift which, while preserving the past, refreshes the present and stores up lasting enrichment for the future.
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2023 edition of the Salesian Bulletin