News from Madagascar
News from Madagascar
Betafo (Madagascar). The communities of the Madagascar Province Mary Source of Life have been celebrating from April 8th last, because Mother Yvonne Reungoat is visiting the whole Province as it prepares for the Feast of Gratitude on April 26th.
Betafo was the last community to be visited before Mother went to Ambolonkandrina, where she is with the Provincials of the African Interprovincial Conference (CIAM) for the Spiritual Retreat which ends on April 25th. In ten days, Mother Yvonne was able to meet with a huge gathering of FMA and Malagasy young people, who welcomed her in their typical joyful way.
The first community to welcome Mother Yvonne was Ivato, then she went to Antananarivo, Manazary e Mahajanga. There were celebrations everywhere, gatherings, dialogue and prayer.
At Antananarivo, during the community meeting, Mother spoke about the role of the community of the Provincial House in helping all to feel a sense of family and belonging which grows in proportion to the welcome received in that house. Mother Yvonne recalled the importance of the FMA presence among the young and of the time dedicated to getting to know each one personally: “We are sent – according to Mother – to be witnesses of the love of God for every creature”.
To the numerous lively and festive young people, Mother reminded all of the characteristics of the young people who fill our Salesian environments, recalling the examples of Dominic Savio and Laura Vicuna.
At Manazary, on April 11th, the welcome for Mother Yvonne happened in various stages along the way which leads from the Salesian Community to the FMA community. Very many students from the school and young people from the oratory formed two long lines as a guard of honour.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the Bishop Monsignor Raymond and was enlivened by dance and typical songs. At the end of the mass, there was an official welcome by the President of the Church Council and by the mayor. Both highlighted the beautiful climate of collaborazione which exists between the sisters and the whole village at different levels. They thanked Mother Yvonne for all that her sisters accomplish in the village and mentioned the latest work which was finished, a work of great importance : bringing water into the different areas and also to the state Secondary School.
When Mother began to speak she expressed her immense joy for this meeting. She thanked for the welcome and underlined the importance of being and doing together: “Education is possible – she said – only if there is a community”. Then she expressed her gratitude to them for their gestures of solidarity with Haiti.
There were also other joyfilled meetings with the young people and the educating community to whom Mother said: “We must all grow in awareness that we are responsible for the different vocations which must flower in this most beautiful place”.
Mother arrived at Mahajanga on April 12th. There she met the community and individual sisters. On the following day she participated in the solemn Eucharistic celebration with the Bishop Mons. Victor Solo. Also here, there was celebration and meetings full of joy with the young people and members of the educating community.
On April 14th Mother returned to Ivato and had the opportunity of meeting the Provincial Council.
Instead, on 15th she visited the community of Fianarantsoa, and was welcomed with great joy, by the sisters,the educating community, the Salesian family as well as the Archbishop, the Vicar General, the Diocesan Administrator and some of the sisters' parents. Immediately afterwards, M. Yvonne, with all the pupils of the Primary School and the CFP, participated in the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Archbishop Mons. Fulgence Rabemahafaly, together with many diocesan priests and all the Salesians.
On more than one occasion, the Archbishop thanked Mother for her visit and for the educational work of the community and he expressed the wish that the Salesian educational charism brought by the FMA would always remain alive in Fianarantsoa.
A celebration followed the mass and included dances and songs by the pupils of the Primary School and the CFP. After a speech by a young person from the Centre, Mother gave her message: she spoke of the importance of education, of collaboration and of joy. Addressing the young people she asked them to do all and in every moment and situation with joy.
The final community to be visited was Betafo.