A surprise visit by Pope Francis to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA). To them the encouragement to be "generative communities" and "women of hope" in this "fragile and uncertain time" of the pandemic that "has made so many massacres" and "multiplied poverty." Then the recommendation to stay "next to the poor and the young" and to always be faithful to the original charism of Don Bosco.
The Pope was welcomed with a blue and white flag of Argentina, a glass of Mate and an Indian neck rosary by the 200 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians - better known as the "Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco" - from all over the world. He met them at the General Curia in Rome, where the 24th General Chapter on the theme "Generative Communities of Life in the Heart of the Contemporary World" is being held from October 17-24.
After greetings and applause, the Pontiff sat in his "cathedra" before a large audience, and in his speech, interspersed with wide-ranging passages, he encouraged the service of Salesian women throughout the world, especially in today's "multicultural social context, marked by tensions and challenges that are at times even dramatic, such as those caused by the pandemic". A "fragile and uncertain" time, wounded by numerous "forms of poverty that the current crisis has produced and multiplied," the Pope said. "This is terrible. Poverty is multiplied, even hidden poverty." The thought went particularly to the "many well-off families or at least in the middle class" who now "do not have the necessities of life." "The pandemic has made so many massacres," the Pope said and then recommended that the sisters immerse themselves in this complex scenario always "rooted in Christ" and, above all, without ever giving in to the temptations of "worldliness, in its different forms and disguises."
Pope Francis wanted to go personally to the "House" of the religious, for decades dedicated to the apostolate among the poor and to the formation of young people, to greet them and wish "good work" to the newly elected superior general, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, and to thank the outgoing superior, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, to whom he jokingly said, "I hope that Mother will return to Africa and if there is no place in Africa, in Patagonia!"
The president of the Fondazione Mediterraneo Michele Capasso, in expressing his most affectionate wishes to Mother Chiara Cazzuola, reiterated his affection for the FMA and his deep fraternal friendship with Mother Yvonne, recalling her words when - on a visit to the Museum of Peace in November 2017 - he inaugurated the Salesian World Oratory by donating the relics of Saint Mary Mazzarello, founder of the FMA, to the Museum of Peace.