Rome (Italy). In a crowded Petrassi hall, on the afternoon of May 4, the presentation of the film “Maìn. La casa della felicità” [Maria. The house of happiness] took place. The evening, presented by Andrea Carpinteri, opened with a greeting from Mother General of the FMA, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, followed by a musical trio made up of piano, viola and violin, which performed variations on the theme from the soundtrack of the film. Many representatives of lay and religious institutes were present at the event, including the SDB Vicar General, Fr. Adriano Bregolin, members of the SDB and FMA General Councils, the Rector of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, Professor Carlo Nanni, SDB, lecturers, representatives of various groups of the Salesian Family, members of many religious congregations and representatives of Associations.
The film, directed by Simone Spada, tells the life of the Saint, starting from her infancy, keeping a close eye on all that surrounds her. First of all, there is the family, with which Maria Domenica had always close ties; then her friends, who would be close to her throughout her life; and the people, who did not always under stand her actions nor the passion that moved Maria and which, at a certain point in her life, obliged her to leave Mornese. In the film much space is given to places. Thanks to the excellent photography, Mornese and the Valponasca figure almost as co-stars that welcome and console Maria in the darkest moments of her life, first and foremost during the typhoid and the exile.
Mother Mazzarello was very well acted by Gaia Insenga who succeed in bringing to the big screen her simplicity, humility and passion for Jesus. Maria does nothing for herself, all that she does is for her “daughters” and her Sisters, to give them a house, which immediately becomes “the house of happiness”. A happy home that takes its first steps surrounded by many difficulties, caused especially by the closed culture of the time. This is clearly seen in the film. In one scene, a young woman, Caterina Daghero, enters the house on Borgo Alto to become a Sister. She was looking for a ‘monastery’ and instead found people who laugh and enjoy themselves. She found ‘confusion’. She became indignant and wanted to leave but Mother Mazzarello explained to her that this is the house where she can meet God and others. And Caterina stayed.
The final part of the film is meaningful. Among the most moving scenes is that in which Mother Mazzarello, having returned from Saint Cyr sur mer, crosses the playground of Nizza, welcomed by the many girls who live in the “house of happiness”. She would die a short time later. In this passage, this small woman who, like a tiny seed, with her strength has given life to the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians which, today as yesterday, is “the house of happiness”, in every part of the world.
The film was received with great enthusiasm by the public in the hall, who showed their appreciation with prolonged applause.