“Faces of the same charism. Salesians & Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the 20th century”

31 January 2022
Italy – Book Presentation: “Faces of the same charism. Salesians & Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the 20th century”

(ANS – Rome) – The presentation of the volume Volti di uno stesso carisma. Salesiani e Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice nel XX secolo, or Faces of the same charism. Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the twentieth century, edited by Fr Francesco Motto, SDB, and Sister Grazia Loparco, FMA, and published by LAS (Rome 2021) took place with extremely positive results on January 26 at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome.

Promoted by the association of Salesian historians, Associazione Cultori di Storia Salesiana (ACSSA) in collaboration with the Faculty of Education and Social Communication of the aforementioned university, various scholars shared their presentations during the event.

In his greeting, prof. Fr Antonio Dellagiulia, SDB, Dean of the Faculty of Education Sciences (ESF) of the UPS, underlined the spiritual value of the individual profiles and their inclusion in the Salesian tradition; in the individual characters presented, he also identified that path of clear personal identity, great intimacy, and social generativity, of which a classic author of developmental psychology, Erik Erikson, speaks.

Professor Fr Motto, President of ACSSA, then illustrated the complex phases of international preparatory work for the volume, the objectives that were intended and achieved, and the innovative historiographic methodology that was applied. He then exhibited the faces of the book’s 48 protagonists.

Prof Giorgio Rossi, professor emeritus of the University of Rome-3, using the historiographic perspective suggested by Maurice Nédoncelle about the reciprocal relationship between the scholar and the person under study, recalled the figures of Fr Antonio Cojazzi, Fr Rufillo Uguccioni, and Fr Carlo Torello, whom he personally met.

Prof Fr Giuseppe Crea, CMMJ, UPS professor of psychology, in a masterful speech highlighted aspects that the various SDB and FMA characters of the book have in common: the ability to graft onto the common Salesian charism, to integrate diversity, to remain stable even in changing. They had “learned to learn”, to be shaped by events and situations: rooted in time, they were ready to accept the appeals of the context, in view of something or someone. Their educational charism has become a way of life that can be proposed to all. In the words of Pope Francis, in the end, they were able to “leap out of themselves.”

Finally, the well-known journalist, Rita Pinci, coordinator of “Donne Chiesa Mondo“, the monthly magazine of the Osservatore Romano, gave an interesting reading of the “feminine” features of the volume. She spoke of a courageous, optimistic volume, of a female humanity generously shared and at work, of women forced to employ exceptional resourcefulness, vision, imagination, and who showed incredible resilience. The weaker sex – not quite ….

Moderated by prof Fr Francesco Casella, professor emeritus of UPS, the event was followed live in various continents and remains available on the YouTube channel of the UPS itself.


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