The FMA Community of Testaccio Celebrates 100 Years of Ministry

The FMA Community of Testaccio Celebrates 100 Years of Ministry For those who do not know Rome well, Testaccio is one of the historic areas of the capital. At the beginning of the twentieth century this area was inhabited by workers who had come to the city in search of fortune. It was a poor area which, politically, supported the left and where one breathed an air of anti-clericalism. Today the face of the area has changed greatly. In place of workers there are young artists and migrants, which makes Testaccio a multi-racial and multi-cultural area where many meetings, especially of young people, take place. For this reason it is one of the most dynamic areas of the city.

The Istituto Santa Cecilia of the FMA on Via Ginori was built in 1913, but the first three FMA arrived in Testaccio on November 27, 1911. Sr. Rosalia Stella, Sr. Giuseppina Pedrazzoli, Sr. Clotilde Bianchi, and the postulant Antonia Cadoni were welcomed on that day by the young parish priest, Fr. Luigi Olivares, who had the expression of someone who was seeing his dreams fulfilled. Fr. Luigi, who was to become bishop of Nepi a few years later, awaited them in front of a modest house at 102 Via Marmorada.

The work of the three Sisters began from that simple house. Thanks to their zeal and their charisma the Sisters immediately managed to build a place suited to welcoming all the activities planned for the girls of Testaccio. The oratory, the school, after-school activities and a dressmaking school began very soon. The activities of the FMA multiplied year after year and never stopped, not even during the two world wars. In the chronicle of the First World War one reads that the Sewing workshop was commissioned to make 2,000 cravats for the soldiers, while during the Second World War the school welcomed about 80 pupils for the elementary and middle schools in the year 1941/42 and trips to the seaside were not interrupted. This was another important educational activity in which the Sisters had been involved for many years.

In the post-war years the work of the FMA expanded, the activities became consolidated and the professional courses were recognised by the Ministry for Labour.

The 70s came with their big cultural changes. Educational reflection centred around the critical topics of the day: abortion and divorce and the families of the pupils also became involved in the discussions The end of the 70s was marked by an important event: the beginning of the pontificate of John Paul II. Only three months after his election to the Pontificate, he visited the Institute. This moment was as unexpected as it was happy and the hearts of the Sisters were filled with joy. In the 80s sport stood out among the many activities. There were leagues and festivals that involved the highest sporting authorities of CONI. In the 90s instead the population of Italy began to diminish, leading to a fall in the numbers attending schools throughout the country. This led to the closing of the elementary school first and later the middle school.

If, on the one hand, the work with the little ones was ending, work with adolescents was intensifying and growing. There are, today, 12 professional formation courses (CIOFS) with 320 young people of 18 different ethnic backgrounds.

In recent years the community is involved in many areas, ranging from tourism (TGS, Salesian Youth Tourism), to volunteerism (VIDES, International Volunteering for Women, Education and Development), including technical formation as well (IFTS, Higher Technical Instruction and Formation) to mention only a few.

The Istituto is in constant evolution and has succeeded in responding to the practical needs of a community that is changing ever more rapidly.

On Sunday, November 27 the FMA of Testaccio celebrated their centenary, ready to face the challenges of the years to come. Mother Yvonne Reungoat took part in the event and during the Eucharist, she greeted those present and expressed her gratitude to all the people who accompanied the journey of the FMA at Testaccio during the first 100 years of its history.

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2 comment
17/05/2020 21:31:25 - alessandra lisci

Ho frequentato un corso biennale agli inizi degli anni 90.Un ricordo speciale per Suor Dina che resterà sempre nel mio cuore.

23/12/2018 08:43:25 - Maria Nina Serra

Buongiorno a tutta la comunità,sono stata una ex allieva dell’isituto negli anni 70 e ricordo sempre con piacere momenti di vita trascorsi nella community.Oltre ad essere stata studentessa ho lavorato anche all’interno della struttura,un grazie per tutto ciò che mi hanno trasmesso e per l’insegnamento ricevuto, esperienza che ha forgiato e smussato parte del mio carattere ribelle.

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