At the ancient harbor: 1877- 2017
Genoa (Italy). November 14, 1877, brought the Institute beyond the confines of Europe, transplanting the charism of Don Bosco and of Mother Mazzarello in America. With the departure of the first six FMA, the spirit of Mornese crossed the ocean toward the unknown ‘new world’ and there brought joy and hope to a multitude of children, young people, women, families…
On 14 November 2017 at Genoa, under a leaden sky, just like 140 years ago according to the Cronistoria, the provincial community and the animators of Our Lady of Good the Cenacle Province (ILS), found themselves before the ancient port, on a barge near the famous Aquarium of Genoa to relive that departure.
From there you can see the LANTERN and imagine the place where the first FMA missionaries left for Latin America. The group with the Provincial, Sr. Carla Castellino, the members of the Provincial Council and the Animators commemorated the departure of 140 years ago: a departure that was the beginning of an adventure that is still repeated today in other ports and airports! We felt strongly the responsibility to represent the Institute in this circumstance: everywhere you have the opportunity to remember this fundamental moment of our history, but being able to be present exactly where it happened is not possible for everyone.
For this occasion, a sign and a commitment were proposed by the Provincial, Sr. Carla Castellino, with these words: "On this day, as a Province, we do not have a missionary mandate to confer on young people or FMA who leave for a missionary experience, but we are entrusted with a sign, which is also a commitment for every community.
The world map you will receive will serve to decorate as you deem best, a missionary corner in your community rooms. This corner will be a constant reminder for the prayer needed for the missionaries, but also a solicitation for everyone to develop a renewed missionary creativity for raising awareness for solidarity in the children and young people.
During the year of preparation for this important anniversary, the Mission Sector asked us to think of a prophetic gesture. The prophetic dimension of our choices cannot be established at a desk, but at this moment we want to take on a province commitment that – along the lines of missionary charity - involves all the communities. The commitment of recent years for the revival of the missionary spirit ad gentes, has led us to propose both for 2016 and 2017, two summer volunteer experiences in Ethiopia. The desire is to consolidate this relationship with the Ethiopian Province, finding a form of twinning that will be considered with the Provincial of Ethiopia, and that could further materialize with the realization of initiatives by individual communities for knowledge and support of volunteer activity and service from year to year, that we will carry out with a small group of young people and an FMA.
The response of everyone to this request for commitment was thanksgiving to God for the call to the Salesian missionary vocation.
The desire is to live the attitudes of joy and of awe that characterized the first sisters of Mornese, who dreamt of the missions as a goal of eminent sanctification. Their dream is still for us today, a reminder to let ourselves be contagioned by a new missionary zeal, able to be keep lit the courage and the joy of the Gospel proclamation, understood as water springing from within our often-arid realities”.
Then we went to Genoa, Sampierdarena, where our Salesian brothers welcomed us. We visited the rooms where Don Bosco has stayed many times and listened to the words of Fr. Albert Rinaldini who reminded us of the reasons why Sampierdarena is indicated as the SECOND VALDOCCO. We participated in the Eucharistic Celebration in Spanish with a group of Latin Americans who see this reality particularly connected to the phenomena of migration with a strong presence.
The commemorative day concluded with our sisters in the community of Genoa Corso Sardegna: they offered us a lavish meal on the basis of "Menu da Sara" (from the name of the cook, Sr. Sara Serlini).
The GREAT MISSIONARY EXPEDITION asks every FMA to be prepared to leave, “though remaining in her habitual mission post where we find ourselves at the present moment”. Going out to accomplish with Jesus the mission the Father entrusts to us does not necessarily require going to other lands or crossing oceans, but knowing how to cross the thresholds of particular preoccupations, to leave aside our own comforts to dilate our heart to reach the horizons of all humanity of which every man and woman is a living part. We thank the Lord for having lived this day of memory. May we prolong it in daily life by being messengers of hope and of joy.