FMA 30 July 2022 -- During Don Bosco's lifetime 5 groups of the Salesian Family were founded: Salesians of Don Bosco (1859), ADMA - Association of Mary Help of Christians (1869), Past Pupils of Don Bosco (1870), FMA -Salesian Sisters (1872) and The Association of Salesian Cooperators (1876). On 6 August 2022 the whole Salesian Family celebrates with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) their 150th anniversary, already anticipated in some EAO provinces.
The whole FMA Congregation has prepared for this special occasion with a 3-year remote preparation and 3-month immediate preparation.
The worldwide logo of FMA-150th Celebrations states: "Mary Walks in this House" and the Southern Pacific Region of the FMA reminds us with the 4 symbols placed on the Altar for the Eucharistic celebration in Melbourne (May 14, by Sr Rochel Lamb, FMA) of their charismatic roots:
The Window: Yes! For many it is a small, insignificant window! But for Mary Mazzarello, it all began with that window - her journey into spirituality, a deep spirituality of ‘action and contemplation’ that would become the basis for thousands of FMAs and the young, the world over. From here, where silence is broken only by the wind that blows in every direction, Mary had learned to live an intense spiritual life. She learned the real meaning of contemplation which, according to the Gospel, makes one responsible for one’s brothers and sisters. Here at the window of her home at the Valponasca, Mary nurtured her religious vocation and brought it to maturity, even though she didn’t know how she could ever realise it.
The Well: Like St. Mary Mazzarello and the first group of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, we too gather at the well, a spiritual heritage left to us, a symbol full of meaning for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians over the past 150 years. As we draw water from the well, we draw from the source of Jesus the Living Water and from the source of our ever-living Salesian charism. Wherever we are present, everyone is invited to drink from this inexhaustible source which is the contemplation and apostolic passion of the spirit of St. Mary Mazzarello and the first group of Sisters in Mornese.
Image of Mary: “Mary walks in this house” were the words of Don Bosco at his last encounter with the FMA at Nizza Monferrato in 1885. “I want to say that the Virgin Mary is truly here, here right in your midst! The Virgin Mother walks in this House and covers it with her mantle”. Mary is constantly present amongst us. Her tender motherly care is tangibly felt in our communities, playgrounds and educational institutions. “Trust in Mary Help of Christians, and you’ll see what miracles are” said Don Bosco. Trust in Mary Help of Christians is a guarantee that no one will ever be unheard or forsaken.
Coat of Arms: The Salesian Sisters were established on 5 August 1872, when young Mary Mazzarello and 11 other young women made their first vows in the presence of Don Bosco. The name 'Daughters of Mary Help of Christians' was chosen by Don Bosco for this new congregation, and he desired the Sisters to be a ‘living monument’ of his gratitude to Mary Help of Christians. Today the FMAs number about 12 thousand and are present in 97 countries, living and working for and with the young.
From the humble village of Mornese to the World: FMA religious institute is now among the largest women religious congregations around the Catholic Church. On the FMA 24th General Chapters slides you may get the figures from each continent, where the sisters are present in 97 countries.
Within the EAO region there are some 1256 sisters and 53 novices (FMA Elenco 2021), living in 150 local communities in the following 9 provinces: Australia, Samoa and Solomon Islands; China - Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan; Philippines and Papua New Guinea; Cambodia and Myanmar, Korea and Mongolia; Japan; Thailand; Vietnam and Laos; Timor Leste and Indonesia.
Around the world FMA sisters are committed to their Mission: 122 Women promotion centers, 274 Social works (migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities), 440 Boarding houses and hostels, 475 Vocation Training Centers (TVET), 142 Social works for children and youth in difficulties, 2793 Youth Centers and Oratories and 3175 Schools.
All FMA are 11.225 sisters and 310 novices (2-year course) at present with majority (172 novices) of Asian origin, let's pray for new FMA sisters vocation!
Mary Walks in this House!
- Related materials - Boscolink: FMA 150 (1872-2022)
- FMA central website
- FMA Australia province celebrations