After a restful night we woke up this morning to find ourselves emerged in the air and sun of Mornese! What a dream!! Or rather, a reality!!
|The house where the Mazzarello lived after the robbery at Valponasca|
and where Maria convalesced after being struck by typhoid
The morning session was extremely informative and uplifting, as we listened to Sr Edna Mary’s presentation on the Letters of Maria Mazzarello, which she had spent at least 5 years reflecting on. (And we know why she is so passionate about Maria Mazzarello!) Her analysis brought to life a Maria Mazzarello very well-rooted in God since her early childhood, thanks to the excellent education and formation that her parents and Don Pestarino gave her, and a strong pastoral-oriented influence from Genoa, the nearby big city. We realised how wise Don Pestarino was in allowing a very active lay involvement in the parish, which later blossomed into a very daring and beneficial apostolate for girls that Maria and Petronilla started, similar to what Don Bosco was doing for boys. We saw too, how Maria Mazzarello showed her leadership, courage and initiative in not only being shaped by the society and culture of her time, but in turn also shaped it.
|Don Pestarino's house|
The talk was linked very well to our visit in the afternoon to the parish church (where Don Pestarino was Assistant Priest), the house of Don Pestarino, the first boarding house that Maria and Petronilla started, the house of Mary Immaculate that Don Pestarino established for Maria, Petronilla and the boarding girls, and the house of Angela Maccagno (the Founder of the Pious Union of Daughters of Mary Immaculate of which Maria and Petronilla were members prior to becoming Salesian Sisters). The physical encounter of these places helped us visualise and put into perspective the life story of Maria Mazzarello, reflect and relate the different events of her life to our own.
|The Immaculate House|
|The front door of Angela Maccogno's house|
Reflection on Maria’s life also linked very well to the homily that Fr Anthuvan gave us in speaking of her as a woman of contemplation, and carefully pointing out to us the difference between contempation and ecstasy. While ecstasy includes a withdrawal from active life, contemplation allows us to remain active in life with the constant accompaniment of God’s presence, thus keeping us open to our brothers and sisters.
In the evening, the Eastern American Province (SUO) made a presentation of some facts of their province and a very well-done DVD of their 25th anniversary, which we all enjoyed.
by Sr Thuy-Linh Nguyen SPR
by Sr Thuy-Linh Nguyen SPR