Program together: experience of synodality

In the months of February and March, the General Council of the FMA Institute, with the collaborators, dedicated itself to the elaboration of the Program for the six-year period 2022 – 2027.

Rome Italy). The Mother and the General Council of the Institute of the Daughters of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, together with the Collaborators, during the months of February and March, dedicated themselves to the elaboration of the Program for the sexennium 2022 – 2027.

This Programming is the result of a journey in which the process of involving the Sectors and all the Collaborators was privileged. Up to 2014, in fact, the Programming of the General Council was the result of the work of Mother and her Council, who then submitted to the Collaborators the document already prepared for comparison.

In 2014, for the first time, a unitary Sector Planning document was drawn up on the basis of the Council’s Programming itself, which the Provinces then drew inspiration from to draw up their own planning. On the basis of what emerged from the verifications and suggestions presented by the Provinces regarding the implementation of the Programming, the Council reflected on the methodology to be followed, proposing to elaborate on the Programming from the beginning with the Co-workers.

At the opening of the works with La Madre and the Council, on 23 February 2022, the desire to vitally deepen the Acts of the XXIV General Chapter emerged from the initial sharing with the Co-workers. To fulfill the Chapter, the Acts must be known, studied, lived, bearing in mind that they are not only the fruit of the Chapter Assembly but also of the great process of involvement of the Communities, Provinces, Interprovincial Conferences, in the reinterpretation of the Instrument of Work and in light of the great changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Starting from the common horizon that characterized the pre-capitular, capitular and now post-capitular journeys – “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2,5): as in Cana and Mornese we are a presence that generates, promotes, and takes care of life today and in the contemporary world – there have been various moments of listening, sharing in groups, re-elaborating and restating the various passages to form a common basis.

The process of elaboration of the Program was therefore an experience of synodality and circularity within each of the Sectors, but above all an enriching journey between the fields, in a spirit of discernment and openness to the Holy Spirit, motivated by the search for the best ways for the concretization of the Acts of the Chapter.

Important moments of sharing were those of formation lived together. The General Council identified some thematic nuclei on which to train together with the collaborators, relating to some areas, and invited the experts:

– Sr. Alessandra Smerilli , FMA, ad interim Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, presented some experiences of involvement starting from the style of discernment;

– the aspect of integral ecology in view of the implementation of the Chapter resolution was dealt with by Fr Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Salesian of Don Bosco, Coordinator of the “Ecology & Creation” Sector of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development who recalled the Objectives of the Laudato Si ‘Platform;

– Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva, Rector Major Emeritus of the Salesian Congregation, spoke on the theme of the formation of the FMA today;

– Sister Linda Pocher , FMA, Professor of Mariology at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences “Auxilium” spoke of the ‘Presence’ of Mary in the identity of the FMA.

Mother Chiara Cazzuola participated in all the phases, encouraging and enhancing the contribution of each and clarifying, when necessary, some aspects. At the presentation of the draft to the Collaborators, on April 8, 2022, thanking them for the work – carried out according to criteria of essentiality, involvement, participation, coordination, and above all discernment – recalled the purpose of the Program, that is to put itself in continuity with the journey of the Institute and encourage the Provinces to live the delivery of the Chapter: “With Mary, be a presence that generates life”.

The fruit of this work will be a single document, in which the programmatic lines of the animation of the Mother and of the General Council, of the Sectors, and of the General Secretariat are collected.

Pope World Day of Peace message: no peace without a “culture of care”

In his message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, Pope Francis appeals to the international community and every individual to foster a “culture of care” by advancing on the “path of fraternity, justice and peace between individuals, communities, peoples and nations.”   

“There can be no peace without a culture of care,” the Pope stresses in his message for the 54th World Day of Peace, held on 1 January 2021, which was released by the Vatican on Thursday.

The Holy Father calls for “a common, supportive and inclusive commitment to protecting and promoting the dignity and good of all, a willingness to show care and compassion, to work for reconciliation and healing, and to advance mutual respect and acceptance.” In this task, Pope Francis offers the principles of the Church’s social doctrine as a compass on the path to peace.  

Established by Pope St. Paul VI in 1967, the first World Day of Peace was observed on 1 January 1968. On New Year’s Day, the Church also celebrates the solemn feast of Mary, Mother of God.  

“A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace” is the theme of the Pope’s message, addressed to heads of state and government, leaders of international organizations, spiritual leaders and followers of the different religions, and to men and women of good will.  

Lessons from the pandemic

Pope Francis begins his message noting how the “massive Covid-19 health crisis” has aggravated deeply interrelated crises such as those of the climate, food, the economy and migration, causing great sorrow and suffering to many. He makes it an occasion to appeal to political leaders and the private sector to spare no effort to ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines and to the essential technologies needed to care for the sick, the poor and those who are most vulnerable.

Alongside the pandemic, the Pope also notes a surge in various forms of nationalism, racism and xenophobia, and wars and conflicts that bring only death and destruction in their wake. These and other events of 2020, he says, have underscored the importance of caring for one another and for creation in our efforts to build a more fraternal society. Hence, “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace” is a “way to combat the culture of indifference, waste and confrontation so prevalent in our time,” he says.

Evolution of the Church’s Culture of Care

The Holy Father traces the evolution of the Church’s Culture of Care from the first book of the Bible to Jesus, through the early Church down to our times.

After the creation of the world, God entrusts it to Adam to “till it and keep it”. Cain’s response to God – “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – after killing his brother, Abel, is a reminder that all of us are keepers of one another. God’s protection of Cain, despite his crime, confirms the inviolable dignity of the person created in God’s image and likeness. Later, the institution of the Sabbath aimed to restore the social order and concern for the poor, while the Jubilee year provided a respite for the land, slaves and those in debt. All this, the Pope says, shows that “everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationship with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.”

The Father’s love for humanity, the Pope says, finds its supreme revelation in Jesus, who asks His disciples to do likewise. The early Christians followed Jesus by sharing what they had and caring for the needy, thus making their community a welcoming home.

Today, the Church has “many institutions for the relief of every human need: hospitals, poor houses, orphanages, foundling homes, shelters for travellers…”

Church’s social doctrine – a “‘grammar’ of care

This culture of care of the Church, enriched by the reflection of the Fathers and the charity of luminous witnesses to the faith, the Pope continues, became the “beating heart of the Church’s social doctrine.” This, he says, can serve as a “grammar’ of care: commitment to promoting the dignity of each human person, solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, the pursuit of the common good and concern for the protection of creation.”

The Christian concept of the person, the Pope says, fosters the pursuit of a fully human development. “Person always signifies relationship, not individualism; it affirms inclusion, not exclusion; unique and inviolable dignity, not exploitation.” “Each human person is an end in himself or herself, and never simply a means to be valued only for his or her usefulness.”

According to the “compass” of social principles of the Church, every aspect of social, political and economic life achieves its fullest end when placed at the service of the common good, which allows people to reach their fulfilment more fully and easily.  

In this regard, the Pope says, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that all of us, fragile and disoriented, are in the same boat.  All of us are called to row together”, since “no one reaches salvation by themselves.”

The Church’s social principles also urge us to concrete solidarity for others because we are all really responsible for all. It also stresses the interconnectedness of all creation, as his Encyclical Laudato si’ points out.

This highlights the need to listen to the cry of our brothers and sisters in need and the cry of the earth our common and care for them. 

“A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be authentic if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings,” the Pope says, citing his encyclical. 

“Peace, justice and care for creation are three inherently connected questions, which cannot be separated.” 

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Prayers and resources for New Year’s Eve and New Year 2021

(This resources were taken from different websites)


Heavenly Father, we come before you to give thanks as we near the end of 2020 — a year of confusion, conflict, coronavirus, quarantine and shutdown. But what does it even look like to be truly thankful in 2020?

Response of the people: Lord, help us find gratitude in this year of brokenness.

Leader: Gratitude for a year of pruning and suffering? A year of pain and wounding? Wounds found in the loss of jobs, loss of security, sickness and disease. Wounds from seeing loved ones die at a distance. Wounds of division, strife, injustice and violence. Wounds from political pride and tirades among family, friends and fellow believers. Long forgotten wounds exposed and unearthed in the quiet of quarantine. Wounds broken open. Broken apart. Brokenness that can’t be put back together again.

But you God, command us to be thankful in all circumstances.

Response: Lord, we’ve been fearful and uncertain. Yet, our hearts still believe you’re good.

Leader: For the gifts of suffering hide in our pain and require work to unearth. Gratitude that ignores pain is neither hard-won nor true. Nor is a joy that denies sorrow real joy at all. So what gifts have we to be truly thankful for in the grief of 2020?

Response: So what gifts have we to be thankful for?

Leader: As our world came to a stop, we were humbled. Stripped of our routines, our calendars suddenly empty, we were forced to slow down. We were invited to rediscover what really matters in life — family, friendship and faith.

Response: Thank you, God, for slowing us down so we could rediscover what really matters.

Leader: As our nation and world grew hostile and divided, we were able to recognize our own brokenness and need. My fear, resentment, hateful words and critical spirit were exposed. Humbled and in need of grace, I saw you as the only one who could cleanse my troubled heart.

Response: Thank you, God, for the gift of repentance and restoration.

Leader: In our isolation, we felt alone and uncertain. And yet found that You were near. You were near in my questions, my grief, my struggles and my frustrations.

Response: Thank you, God, that you are faithful and you are with me.

Leader: In the brokenness of this world, Your love still remains. You have compassion for the lowly, the lost, the broken and the burdened — just like me. It is your unfailing love that changes our hearts and increases our capacity to love others. Though I deserved nothing, you have given me everything.

Response: Thank you, God, for the gift of genuine love.

Leader: Heavenly Father, this year has been hard, exposing and stripped so much from us. Yet, we thank you for all that you are and all that you have done.

To our God who comforts all who morn, gives beauty for ashes and joy for mourning; we say thank You.

(Rebekah Mobley)

A Reflective Review of the Past Year:
An Ignatian Annual Examen

St. Ignatius Loyola’s Examen is an opportunity for peaceful daily reflective prayer. It invites us to find the movement of God in our life. The following is a reflective review of the past year.

The Examen is simply a set of introspective prompts for you to follow or adapt to your own character and spirit. Begin with a pause and a slow, deep breath or two; become aware that you are in the presence of the Holy.

As I review the past 12 months, from a year ago through to the present moment –
What am I especially grateful for this year?

An event that took place
Courage that I mustered
Love and support I received

I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.

Where have I felt true joy this year?
What troubled me this year?
What has challenged me?
Where and when did I find an opportunity for renewal and pause?

Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?

In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?

As I look ahead, to the coming months what comes to mind?
With what spirit do I want to enter the next few months, the next year?

I ask for God’s presence and grace, for this spirit, as I enter the next year


Drenched in Holiness: Prayer for a New Year

Dear God,
On this day I ask You to grant this request?
May I know who I am and what I am,
Every moment of every day.
May I be a catalyst for light and love,
And bring inspiration to those whose eyes I meet.
May I have the strength to stand tall in the face of conflict,
And the courage to speak my voice, even when I’m scared.
May I have the humility to follow my heart,
And the passion to live my soul’s desires.
May I seek to know the highest truth
And dismiss the gravitational pull of my lower self.
May I embrace and love the totality of myself?
My darkness as well as my light.
May I be brave enough to hear my heart?
To let it soften so that I may gracefully
Choose faith over fear.
Today is my day to surrender anything that stands
Between the sacredness of my humanity and my divinity.
May I be drenched in my Holiness
And engulfed by Your love.
May all else melt away.
And so it is.

– Debbie Ford

Prayer for the New Year

On New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, the household gathers at the table or at the Christmas tree or manger scene. Many people make New Year’s Day a day of prayer for peace.

All make the sign of the cross. The leader begins:

Let us praise the Lord of days and seasons and years, saying:
Glory to God in the highest!
R/. And peace to his people on earth!

The leader may use these or similar words to introduce the blessing:

Our lives are made of days and nights, of seasons and years,
for we are part of a universe of suns and moons and planets.
We mark ends and we make beginnings and, in all, we
praise God for the grace and mercy that fill our days.

Then the Scripture is read, Book of Genesis 1:14-19:

Listen to the words of the Book of Genesis:

God said: “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth.” And so it happened: God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night; and he made the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw how good it was. Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.

(The family’s Bible may be used for an alternate reading such as Psalm 90:1-4.)

Reader: The Word of the Lord.
R/. Thanks be to God.

After a time of silence, members of the household offer prayers of thanksgiving for the past year, and of intercession for the year to come. On January 1, it may be appropriate to conclude these prayers with the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in Part VII: Litanies) since this is the solemn feast of Mary, Mother of God. In conclusion, all join hands for the Lord’s Prayer. Then the leader continues:

Let us now pray for God’s blessing in the new year.

After a short silence, parents may place their hands on their children in blessing as the leader says:

Remember us, O God;
from age to age be our comforter.
You have given us the wonder of time,
blessings in days and nights, seasons and years.
Bless your children at the turning of the year
and fill the months ahead with the bright hope
that is ours in the coming of Christ.
You are our God, living and reigning, forever and ever.
R/. Amen.

Another prayer for peace may be said:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
R/. Amen.

—Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

The leader says:Let us bless the Lord.

All respond, making the sign of the cross:

Thanks be to God.

The prayer may conclude with the singing of a Christmas carol.

—From Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers

Entrustment of the Development Office to Saint Joseph

As we know our Development Office is taking shape under the leadership of Sr. Marie Claire J and her Council. All the communities of the Province have been actively involved in this process attending workshops, answering surveys, and handing proposals to this office.

The purpose of the Salesian Sisters Planning and Development office is to assist each and every single mission in the province to become more operative and sustainable in its projects and pastoral works to benefit children and young people.

It is a very strenuous and demanding work for those who are involved in the SSPDO, they require all human and heavenly assistance to bring about life and development into our mission, therefore the need to take St. Joseph as Patron of the SSPDO came as a priority on the 1st of May 202 where all the communities entrusted to St. Joseph this new and exciting adventure.

St. Joseph has the Power to assist us in all cases, every necessity, every undertaking. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

Entrustment of the Development Office to Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph, you were a man greatly favored by the Most-High, Who chose you to care, like a father, for His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

You were both silent and strong, loyal and committed, caring and protective, the guide of Mary and Jesus.

Please take into your heart all our plans and projects and present them to Jesus. Help us then, to hear His voice, as you did, and to act with love in all our pastoral work among the young and the people we are called to serve.

We entrust to you our Provincial Development Office, all the people working with us and those whom we serve, the ones supporting the projects and all the needs and difficulties we might face, sure of your fatherly love and protection.

Teach us to listen to Jesus as you did and help us to serve, love and praise in simplicity and joy, for the glory of God, our Father.  


Sr. Isabel V fma


Today is the feast of the Holy Family where we contemplate the love of God which is manifested in community.

Jesus spent 30 years in a family that taught him about God, to pray to Him, to experience Him. 30 years which were spent in an ordinary family rich of love and teachings. In his family he prepared himself to give his life for the Kingdom and He came to understand so well the unity that embraces the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Our families are ordinary families and they are not perfect. In our families have been difficult times, conflicts, joys, and love that have helped us to grown in life and where we have learnt to know and love God. Our families have been the support in our answer to follow Christ more closely (Const 10)

We as FMA we have been double blessed experiencing the The Salesian Family Spirit “which is rooted in Don Bosco’s appreciation and imitation of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. The gentle, down-to-earth approach and the cultivation of genuine relationships of St. Francis caught the heart of Don Bosco, and his spirituality expressed itself in creating a family spirit among the young entrusted to him. St. Mary Mazzarello and the first Salesian Sisters developed that same art of leading people in the ways of the Spirit toward configuration with Christ. This tradition is an important and ever-relevant way of living and enculturating the gospel. The simple, serene, and family atmosphere favours the building of authentic relationships, attracts young people, and predisposes them to listening—making them more open to the plan God has for them in life”. (Fr. Jose Thomas sdb)

 Our FMA Constitutions in Art 50 reminds us that the Family Spirit requires the commitment of everyone. We need to be proactive in living the Salesian Family Spirit, where each one welcomes everyone with RESPECT, ESTEEM, UNDERSTANDING, OPEN TO DIALOGUE.

Therefore, let us rejoice in today’s Feast and let us model our community life on that one of the HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH. Let the Salesian Family Spirit continue enriching our lives and the lives of our collaborators, children and young people. They need to experience family life around us, let us not deprive them of it as already they find difficult to know what family looks like in our present world.

To make our communities a place of growth each sister lives her life with joyful simplicity and where she is an expert in living sisterly love not only on great occasions but more especially in the circumstances of every day.  

Living the Salesian Family Spirit with commitment like Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived their family lives will enhance trust and joy and it will be pass on to the young people and collaborators and will favour the growth of Salesian Vocations.

Sr. Consuelo A fma

The simple, serene, and family atmosphere favours the building of authentic relationships, attracts young people, and predisposes them to listening—making them more open to the plan God has for them in life”

(Fr. Jose Thomas sdb)



As is the case each year, over these weeks I am sending all provinces in the Salesian Congregation and all Salesian Family groups the title that has been chosen for the Strenna for the coming year. Although there are still five months to go till the end of the calendar year, planning for the new educative and pastoral year require that this communication be brought forward prior to the calendar deadline. I am very happy to do this.

At the same time, the pointers I am offering are obviously not the commentary on the Strenna, but merely ideas that are the common thread running through it, ones that I consider to be essential if we are to understand the development of reflection and certain pastoral guidelines that will flow from it.


When thinking about a message that can unite us as a family in 2021, it is impossible not to take into account the fact that the world, every country, has certainly been blocked if not paralysed (and indeed many are). Travel is out of the question, there has been no possibility of keeping appointments at world and international level. The “global village” has gone back to being, and will certainly remain so for some time, a collection of many “villages” regarding each other with suspicion. Walls have fallen, but for “self-protection” frontiers have been much more reinforced.

Faced with this situation we can repeat the thousands of messages saying that we will overcome it, that we need to trust in ourselves, that we are strong, that in each case national pride has overcome worse situations, etc. Many of these messages, that are also a mindset, a way of interpreting current events, smack of the “Promethean” claims described in the well-known Greek myth in which someone is singularly able to rebuild him or herself, reinvent themselves, draw strength from their own weakness in order to overcome adversity. This is very much a pagan mindset. Many of these messages have nothing to do with the meaning of life, of every life, and much less so with God and the journey we have experienced in this moment of history.

However, this is not our view, nor is it the message we wish to pass on in the many places where we are as a Salesian Family.

So then, our message emphasises and insists that faced with this tough and painful reality with its weighty consequences, we continue to express the certainty of being moved by hope: because God in his Spirit continues to make “all things new”.

Pope Francis has invited the world to become infected with “the necessary antibodies of justice, charity and solidarity”[1] for reconstruction once the days of pandemic are over.

We cannot deny how much sorrow the world is experiencing at the moment. We cannot deny how many millions of poor people have been infected and have lost their life. If we are invited to keep a safe distance, can we imagine how people crowded into the favelas, the slums, next to rubbish dumps can respect social distancing? The loss of jobs is affecting millions of families…; mourning that cannot take place leaves millions of hearts in sorrow; looming poverty (at times hunger) affects, disorients, paralyses and threatens to bury every hope.


We make reference to our Father Don Bosco because he himself throughout his life had to face the harshness of so many situations, so many tragedies and so much pain. He is a teacher in showing us how the way of faith and hope not only enlighten us but also give us the necessary strength to change unfavourable or adverse conditions, or at least to limit them as far as possible. Our Father stood out for his extraordinary tenacity and for his special and profoundly realistic perspective on things. He knew how to look beyond the problems. The cholera situation was – at local level – similar to what we are going through now in every country. As an educator and pastor he accompanied this situation together with his boys. While there were people who were only worried about themselves and their needs, Don Bosco and his boys, like many others, were busy helping to overcome the tragedy. We can say that this profound perspective of faith and hope was something he showed throughout his life: when he left his mother and home and went to live as a “waiter” at the Cafe “Pianta” so he could study in Chieri, facing loneliness and difficulties; or weeping and suffering because he did not know where he could take and welcome his boys in the afternoons for his Oratory until he met Giuseppe Pinardi… All of this confirms how Don Bosco was moved by the virtue of hope.


Christian faith continuously shows how God, through his Spirit, accompanies the history of humankind, including in the most adverse and unfavourable circumstances. This God who does not suffer but has compassion, according to the beautiful expression of Saint Bernard di Chiaravalle: “Impassibilis est Deus, sed non incompassibilis” (God does not suffer but he is not lacking in compassion)[2]. God never abandons his people in salvation history, he always stays with them, especially when their pain becomes so overwhelming: “I am about to do a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Is 43,19)”[3].

This time and this situation will no doubt be conducive to

  • being aware of the suffering of many people
  • paying attention to the many constant and silent epidemics such as the hunger that so many suffer, complicity in wars, lifestyles that enrich some and impoverish millions of people
  • asking ourselves whether we can live – for those among us who have more – with a more simple and austere lifestyle.
  • Seriously considering that our world, the whole of creation, is suffering and falling sick while, while people continue to deny the evidence
  • realising how important it is “to bring the whole human family together in the search for integral and sustainable development”[4].


Many are the interpretations that have been made of this historical moment, a moment that – they say – occurs every hundred years, with great crises that affect humanity for one reason or another. Not even the bloodiest wars have been as “global” as the situation we are experiencing. In any case, what response can we give? What contribution can we offer as a Salesian Family? What Gospel values, read in a Salesian perspective, do we feel we can offer? How can we, as educators, offer as an alternative an “education to hope”?

  • Alternative processes to the dominant culture. Change of values and perspective:
  • from closure to openness
  • from individualism to solidarity
  • from isolation to genuine encounter
  • from division to unity and communion
  • from pessimism to hope
  • from emptiness and lack of meaning to transcendence.
  • God speaks to us through so many people who have known how to live with hope:
  • in extreme situations God continues to speak to us through the hearts of people who see and respond differently
  • the Salesian holiness of our Family is rich in models of those who have know how to live moved by hope (Blessed Stephen Sándor and Madeleine Morano…).
  • We do not save ourselves by ourselves alone. No one is saved alone.

The sense of what I am trying to say is in this quotation from Pope Francis: “If there’s one thing we’ve learned in all this time, it’s that nobody saves themselves. Borders fall, walls crumble, and all fundamentalist discourse dissolves before an almost imperceptible presence that manifests the fragility of which we are made… It is the breath of the Spirit that opens up horizons, awakens creativity and renews us in fraternity to make us present (or to make us say: ‘Here I am’) before the enormous and imponderable task that awaits us. It is urgent to discern and feel the pulse of the Spirit in order to give impetus, together with others, to the dynamics that can witness and channel the new life that the Lord wants to generate at this concrete moment in history.”[5]

  • As a Salesian Family we have tried to give answers at this time of emergency as a sign of charity and hope, and today we must be the alternatives:
  • accompanying young people on life’s journey, opening them up to other horizons, new perspectives.
  • learning to live “on the edge” within a “limitless” society. That is, by helping young people and adults to discover the “normality of life” in simplicity, authenticity, sobriety and depth.
  • letting ourselves be challenged by the many voices of hope from young people in difficult times: the ecological movement, their solidarity with the needy.

5. Places where we LEARN and EXERCISE HOPE

  • Faith and hope go together. Let us propose faith as the authentic path because “a world without God is a world without hope” (Cf. Eph 2:12)
  • Prayer as a school of hope and personal encounter with the love of Jesus Christ who saves us.
  • Actioneffort in daily life given that ultimately, when the human being is moved, he or she acts to transform the situation, and deep down always has hope that sustains. “Every serious and upright deed of the human being is hope in action,”[6]
  • Suffering and sorrow in every human life as the necessary doorway that opens up to hope.

In many cultures, people try in every way to hide or silence suffering and death. However, what allows the human being to heal is not to avoid or hide this suffering and pain, but to mature in it and find meaning in life when it is not immediately or easily visible. Indeed, “Humanity’s greatness is essentially determined by its relationship with suffering and with those who suffer.”[7]

  • The poor and the excluded, who are at the centre of God’s attention, must be our privileged beneficiaries as a Salesian Family.
  • In the greatest crises, so many things disappear, so many “certainties” we thought we had, meanings in life that in reality were not such. But in fact, the great values of the Gospel and its truth remain when philosophies and opportunistic or temporary thoughts fail. The values of the Gospel do not vanish, do not become “liquid”, do not disappear. This is why as the Salesian family of Don Bosco we cannot give up showing what we believe in, cannot lose our charismatic identity in responses we have to provide in the face of whatever situation.

6. MARY of Nazareth, Mother of God, Star of Hope

Mary, our Mother, knows well what it means to trust and hope against all hope, trusting in the name of God..

Her “yes” to God has awakened all hope for humankind.

She experienced helplessness and loneliness at the birth of her Son; she kept in her heart the announcement of a sorrow that would pierce her heart. (Cf. Lk 2:35); she experienced the suffering of seeing her Son be a “sign of contradiction”, misunderstood, rejected.

She knew of hostility and rejection directed at her Son until when at the foot of the cross on Golgotha, she understood that Hope would not die. That is why she stayed with the disciples as a mother – “Woman, here is your son” (Jn 19:26) – as the Mother of Hope.

“Holy Mary,

Mother of God, our Mother,

teach us to believe,

to hope and to love with you.

Show us the road to the Kingdom.

Star of the sea,

shine on us

and guide us on our journey”[8].


Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, S.D.B.
Rector Major

Family Encounter


On the 21st of January Sr. Marie Clarie Jean met the family of our Saòesian Sisters who belong to Thornpark community.  This initiative was launched by Sr. Marie Claire this year so as to celebrate the theme of FAMILY.  The initiative consists in meeting the Parents and relatives of the sisters during the canonical visits to the communities.

The meeting at Thornpark started at 10 am with sharing and introduction in a family atmosphere. Then there was a video presentation and comments on the Strenna 2017 which theme is ” Family, a school of life and love”.

Present at this encounter were the elder sisters of Srs. ModesterChansa, Florence Mulenga, Marie Claire Mwenya and the cousin og Sr. Margaret. The meeting endedwith a meal and the family photos which we are sharing now. The relatives went home happy and pleased to have met the sisters along with all those who came. Indeed as Don Bosco said: parents are our first benefactors. May God Bless us all.

Sr. Chanda Nsofwa.





The Sisters in Zambia participated in the regional assembly from the 28th and 29th of December. Previous to the Assembly the sisters spent one day in reflection and sharing.

On the 30th of December they said thanks to the Provincial and to each one for all the goodness and graces  received during the year which is about to finish.

Here somo photos which tell the story….



The sisters from the AFM Southern Region met at the Provincial House (Boksburg) to celebrate the Regional Assembly and the Gratitude Day. The gathering took place from the 16th to the 19th of December this year.

The first day was a day of reflection on which the sisters dedicated a good part of the day to the meditate  on the letter of Pope Francis titled ” Mercy and Misery”. The day ended  with a very meaningful Penitential Service.

The following two days the sisters dedicated themselves to evaluate the regional plan and to agree on the action priorities for the next year. The second day as well the sisters presented their ministries through a very creative way which brought a sense of belonging and awe as seeing how much the sisters worked in their respective apostolic communities.

The fourth day Gratitude Day was celebrated. The sisters thanked l Sr. Marie Clarie Jean for her presence in the Province and for her dedication to each sister as sister and Provincial.

Sr. Margaret Sweeney was thanked specially as she is leaving the Province after many years in the mission. We thanked her for her faithful service in Lesotho and as Provincial and above all the love for the Kingdom of God manifested in the service of the poor and disadvantage children and young people. The sisters thanked as well to Sr. Helen Fitzgibbon as she served the Province as Provincial Burser and now she will be the Provincial Secretary from 2017. Sr. Celeste Yolola has finished her service as Provincial Secretary, so the sisters said thanks to her for her unconditional service and generosity to the sthem.

Here some photos which tell the story……




Sunday 6th 2016, six of our Zambian Sisters join in the celebration with Mother General in Sakania – DRC where the First Daughters of Mary Help of Christians arrived for the first time 90 years ego.
Lot of people came to thank God for the presence of the FMA in this land which has transformed the life of many young people and families.
Mother General came on this occasion to enter into the mystery of this celebration and was happy that 15 FMA from Congo are now missionaries in diverse parts of the Institute,
The Eucharistic celebration was presided by a SDB Bishop, Mgr.  Gaston Ruvezi.
The provincial of AFC was grateful to see our sisters coming to celebrate with them. with emotion she said “You have honored us”. In addition Mother General was happy to see how we are united.img_0158 img_0159