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By Leotina Akwai
Catholic Communication Solomons

       Henderson, Solomon Islands, 30 September 2022 -- The Salesian Sisters (the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians FMA), Honiara, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the foundation of their institute at Don Bosco Technical Institution, Henderson and Mary Mazzarello Development Centre, Henderson on September 24 2022. The institute was founded by Don Bosco and Mary Mazzarello in 1872.

       The celebration commenced with a thanksgiving Eucharist celebrated by Archbishop Christopher Cardone OP. Concelebrants included Salesian priests Fr. Charles Casper SDB, Rector of Don Bosco Technical Institution, Honiara; Fr. Robinson Parapilly SDB, Fr. Sonny SDB; Diocesan Priests Fr. Michael Toisuta, Fr. Nicholas, Fr. Peter Chele, Fr. Jim Nolan, and Marist Priest Fr. Patelisio SM.

       The joyful liturgical celebration was led by the FMA sisters, Past Pupils Association, current students of Maria Mazzarello Development Centre, Laura Vicuna girls and Savio boys.

       In the homily, Archbishop Cardone, thanked the sisters for their good example of life which has laid the foundation of the faith. With anecdotes, he made the homily cheerful, meaningful, and profound.

       “We remember with gratitude and appreciate the coming of Don Bosco and the Salesian Sisters. They have travelled from Italy to the smallest islands of the South Pacific”, he said.

       He praised all that the FMA sisters had done and invited them to work for the Lord with joy and enthusiasm, live their ministry in the present, and look to the future with hope. He thanked them for being good examples as they reach out to evangelise, provide education and enrich communities. He encouraged all to be persons of prayer and action and to bring the Gospel and the Good news to different communities in Solomon Islands.

       “Renew your Christian commitment within our society, hear the cry of today’s people, even those of the unborn, and accompany them so that they meet Christ who will fill their life with joy”, he concluded.

       A significant moment at the Eucharist was the renewal of vows. Sr. Claudia Aragon FMA, Sr. Emema FMA, and two Solomon Islands Sisters, Sr. Salome FMA and Sr. Julie FMA renewed their vows in the presence of the Archbishop Christopher Cardone OP and Provincial of the South Pacific Region, Sr. Louise McKeogh FMA.

       After Mass, Sr. Claudia Aragon, School Principal at Mary Mazzarello Development Center, for women and girls, thanked the religious communities and all present for the celebration of this wonderful event. The Celebration continued with historical presentations retracing the foundation and journey of the institute.

       The Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco, known as the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice; abbreviated FMA) are a female religious institute formed by Saint Mary Domenica Mazarello in 1872. Thus, the FMA sisters were founded 150 years ago, in Mornese (Northern Italy). St John Bosco together with Mother Maria Domenica Mazzarello founded a community of 11 young women, to work amongst the poor and marginalisedyoung girls and boys of their time. Today there are over 11,500 sisters in 97 nations.

       In Solomon Islands, the Salesian Sisters work in the Diocese of Gizo and the Archdiocese of Honiara giving women and girls a possibility of a formal education.

       Helen, head of the MMDC Past Pupils Group acknowledged the Salesian Sisters and past and present Principals of MMDC School at Laura Vicuna, for their great help in bringing the great skills to the local women in Solomon Islands which helped them in their daily living.

       Sr. Louise McKeogh FMA, Provincial of the South Pacific Region, expressed her gratitude to the religious and lay communities for their presence, the love and care they showed to the Institute and the Province.

       The day ended with a time of celebration with family and friends and all the religious members who witnessed the day with great enthusiasm and joy.













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