Sign of gratitude to all 66,000 Salesian parents
– statue of Mamma Margaret
The world, March 2020 — One of the memorable moments of GC28 was the blessing of the Mamma Margaret statue in front of ‘Casa Don Bosco’ (Don Bosco House) in the presence of all delegates and 15 young adult observers on 7 March, a Saturday. Although we see many statues of Don Bosco’s mother, this is the ever first at Valdocco, where she is considered to be the co-founder of the work. Indeed she arrived with her son on 3 November 1846 from Becchi to start the ‘boarding facility’ for the young people in need and without her we can’t imagine the first 10 years at Valdocco, until her death on 25 November 1856. The Rector Major blessed the statue and the sculptor explained his motivation. The statue of Venerable Margaret Occhiena (1788-1856) is designed together with one the first Oratory boarding street boys.
Pope Francis also in his message to the Salesians of GC28 highlights with conviction her role: “What would become of Valdocco without the presence of Mama Margaret? Would your houses at all been possible without this woman of faith? In some regions and places “there are communities that have long preserved and handed on the faith even though no priest has come their way, even for decades. This could happen because of the presence of strong and generous women who, undoubtedly called and prompted by the Holy Spirit, baptized, catechized, prayed and acted as missionaries. For centuries, women have kept the Church alive in those places through their remarkable devotion and deep faith”.
May the Statue of Mamma Margaret at Valdocco help us to recognize the role of all women in our Educative – Pastoral communities and in the Lay groups of the Salesian Family around the world.
The inscription at the bottom of the statute (in 4 languages) states: ‘In the memory of Salesian parents’. As of now we count some 18.700 confreres who passed away as Salesians in the Congregation and some 14.500 living Salesians and novice. It makes together some 33.000 families who offered their sons to the Church and to Don Bosco – some 66.000 parents of Don Bosco’s Salesians!