Creativity and Fidelity
Creativity and Fidelity
Rome (Italy). On March 19, 2016, the World Confederation of Past Pupils of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians celebrates 108 since its birth. We are printing the letter sent by Sr. Gabriela Patino O in gratitude to God and I invite you to spread the value of an educational heritage destined to future generations of past pupils spread throughout the world.
“Dearest Past Pupils,
Today we celebrate 108 years since the birth of our Association! The first sentiment that rises in my heart is that of thanking God for having given us the people who loved us well: Don Bosco as the inspirer and Fr. Philip Rinaldi as the executor of that idea, and with them, our dear Sr. Catherine Arrighi, and the first past oratorians of the FMA of Turin-Valdocco. How beautiful it is to contemplate the origins and discover that we are loved and surrounded with affection and much trust. Recalling our history, we become aware that the FMA Oratory opened at Valdocco, in 1876, while Mother Mazzarello was still living. It was already frequented by numerous Past Pupils who collaborated with the Sisters in this educational work and desired to continue their formation in order to be involved in transmitting Salesian values of the education received according to the style of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello.
Thus it was that Fr. Philip Rinaldi, director of the girls’ oratory, with the intelligent collaboration of the Superior of the house, Sr. Catherine Arrighi, holds the first meeting on March 8, 1908. He presents to the Past Pupils the proposal to become organized into an Association to share and spread in their areas, the values of an educational heritage destined for future generations of Past Pupils spread throughout the world.
A few days later, on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1908, the Regulations are approved and the first “Past Pupils Union of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians” is officially constituted. In those first Regulations we find, in a simple and clear way, the program of life that must inspire the identity and vision of every FMA Past Pupil:
‘Keep in mind the years lived in the Oratory; encourage each other to persevere in the good principles, even a mothers of families; morally assist companions who are getting married in the difficult formation of a new family; visit your companions when they are sick and give them the help they need as far as possible.’
We find in the original Regulations, even for us today, the invitation to practice mercy. This is what Pope Francis asks of us with his witness and especially in this Jubilee year. Even Mother Yvonne Reungoat, in the Fifth Elective Assembly at Mornese, said: “As a lay ecclesial group, the Association is involved with the whole Church in living and witnessing to a vision of the world according to the Gospel, spreading God’s Kingdom; taking care of others, especially in situations of fragility, beginning with the members of the Association. With Mary, we are called to be near isolated families needing care, attention, and concrete help. You yourselves are a family within the great Family of God.’
Yes, it is an invitation that is always new, yesterday and today. Therefore, we are called to be Past Pupils, men and women, with a merciful face, people who are ready in daily life to express little and big gestures of love, gestures of mercy.
This is my wish on the anniversary of our Association.
With much affection and united in prayer for all of you.
In the name of Sr. Maria Luisa Miranda, President, and of all the Confederation Council, I wish you a Happy Easter of peace and hope”.
Sr. Gabriela Patiño O