(ANS – Rome) – On Sunday 12 September, 2021, at the Generalate of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) in Rome, the 172 Chapter members from the five continents lived their first official meeting with a moment of presentations under the banner of fraternity and celebration. The day began with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr Mauro Mantovani, SDB, former Rector Magnificus of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), who invited the religious to live this time of grace and blessing in opening up to the gift of the Holy Spirit and listening attentively to the Word.
The icon of the banquet at Cana accompanied the moment of welcome and mutual acquaintance, animated by the General Councilors Sr. Silvia Boullosa, the Visiting Councilor, and Sr. Maria Helena Moreira, Sector Councilor for Communication. It is here that the miracle of the grace of unity in diversity took place, in which each of the participants manifested being a family in communion: the joy of meeting, of coming together, the life and mission of the 69 Provinces and 5 Vice Provinces represented, the names, the faces, countries and languages that are the sign of the beauty of the FMA Institutes in the world.
Subsequently, the Capitulars in celebration, from the Theater reached the Chapter Hall, where the Regulator of the XXIV General Chapter, Sister Chiara Cazzuola, handed over the material and some useful information to guide the beginning of the joint journey; while Sister Vilma Tallone illustrated the anti-Covid-19 protocol.
In the afternoon, Sister Moreira, Councilor of the Sector for Communication, after having presented the members of the Chapter Commission for Communication to the Assembly, shared some guidelines to make it possible to share the Chapter experience through institutional channels.
After the break, in a familiar atmosphere, the first meeting of commissions and sub-commissions took place, a space that generated closeness and empathy.
The day ended with the words of Mother General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat who asked to give thanks to the Lord for the joy of being there and of “being able to celebrate the Chapter in the name of Mary, who precedes us, and it is a sign that she is present here and every day of our life… It is beautiful and reassuring to begin the General Chapter in this atmosphere of presence of the Virgin. It is She who will accompany us in our work. What we will do, the choices we will propose, the indications that we will offer to the Institute, if they pass through Her heart, will certainly be the best, they will be those that will serve to make the charism grow, to make us believing and credible apostles. It is not by chance that we chose the verse for the working document: ‘There was the Mother of Jesus’. We want Mary to be there for all this time… so that the salvation that Christ brought does not remain in vain in our time.”
The day of “mutual knowledge” prepared the Chapter members to live a profound community experience, full of amazement and that newness that continually springs from listening to the Word full of hope: “Do whatever He tells you”.