Roma (Italy). From October 1 to 20, 2017, the Generalate of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians is hosting the International Formation Encounter for and with the Novice Formators, on the theme: “To the Root of Perennial Vitality… The Constitutions, plan of life that forms and transforms”.
The encounter is animated by the Formation Sector and is aimed at searching for and sharing the ‘road’ to help the Novices know, vitally assume, and savor the Constitutions, Plan of Life that forms and transforms, directs and sustains the growth of the charismatic identity of the FMA.
The specific objectives proposed are: life an encounter experience that forms, transforms, and qualifies the ministry of discernment, accompaniment, and guidance in the formation journey of the Novices; qualify oneself to accompany the novices in understanding, in today’s context, the meaning of being united in community in the name of the Lord and sent for the young in the spirit of the da mihi animas; assume responsibility for self-formation in a process of ongoing formation to form self and to form to ‘docibilitas’; elaborate Forms that guide the transmission of the Constitutions to encourage, throughout the Institute, a unified and at the same time differentiated path, according to the socio-cultural context.
There are 26 participants coming from the five continents. The meeting-workshop is in continuity with the Formators Convention of April 2013, in which emerged the need to begin a process of reflection on how to transmit, to help to pass on the treasure of the charism with essentiality, depth, and with all its prophetic value to the young women of today so that it can be vitally assimilated. In 2015, the process began with the elaboration of Forms on the identity of the FMA (C 1-7). In 2016, in the second phase of the journey, forms were elaborated on the FMA Vocation beginning with the re-reading of Articles 8-35 of the Constitutions. The guiding theme in this context is: “United in community in the name of the Lord and sent for the young in the spirit of the ‘da mihi animas’, on the horizon of an on-going formation process with the re-reading of Articles 36-76 of the Constitutions”.
The encounter began with a time of prayerful celebration within which the participants, urged by the Word (Mt 13,31-32), were invited to perform a small gesture: plant seeds in vases full of soil that will grow in the course of the meeting and will bear fruit. Hopes and dreams were sown with the certainty that – as Mother Mazzarello says – if we cultivate them well, they will bear good and abundant fruit. This sign and gesture symbolically express the mission of the Formator in discerning and accompanying so that the seed will become a tree…”at the roots of a perennial vitality”
Sr. Nieves Reboso, Councilor for the Formation Sector, at the start of the encounter wished that: “It would be for each one an encounter with the Triune God who has confidence in each person, who draws forth the best of what we carry within us, and that He Himself has given us. That He would make us recognize both the greatness of the mission He entrusts to us and make us truly experience our littleness. That He make us always feel accompanied by His Word which encourages us and supports us: Do not fear…I am with you! May it be a powerful experience of communion to continue the journey of opening our heart wide to the action of the Spirit and to His mediations”.
There are various presentations with very rich content: The Horizon of Consecrated Life Today: United in community and sent for the young in the name of the Lord, (Fr. Rino Cozza CSJ); Anthropological-theological Aspect of Prayer (Fr. Jesús Manuel García SDB); Charismatic Aspect of Prayer (Sr. Piera Cavaglià, FMA); Fraternal Life in Community: Psycho-pedagogical Dynamics(Sr. Milena Stevani, FMA); Biblical-Theological-Charismatic Aspect of Fraternal Life (Sr. Linda Pocher, FMA and Sr. Piera Cavaglià, FMA); New Approaches for Initial Formation: the Novitiate – Heart and Center of Initial Formation (Facilitator: Sr. Rosemary Howarth SSND). This last experience saw the whole group participating in a meeting organized by UISG. It is a sign of the openness of the Institute to being inter-congregational, to sharing experiences for mutual learning. The themes proposed are the subject of study and reflection, dialogue and comparison, of research along with a workshop methodology for the elaboration of forms oriented to the vital assumption of the Constitutions by encouraging the Institute along a unified and enculturated path.
A much-desired moment was the meeting with the Mother General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, who solicited by some questions, focused attention on the community dimension and the sense of belonging to the Institute, indispensable elements for genuine discernment and vocational accompaniment.
Halfway through the course, the participants lived a day in Assisi, an experience of deepening Franciscan spirituality, tracing moments of the life of Francis and Chiara, the places of their mission among the poor.
The work will continue in the coming days with the proposal of other thematic nuclei: The formation community (Fr. Beppe Roggia, SDB); The biblical-theological foundation of the mission (Fr. Rossano Sala SDB); Charismatic-pedagogical foundation of the mission (Sr. Piera Ruffinatto, FMA); The Formator in Action: Context, Conscience, and Identity; relationships, discernment and vocational experience (Fr. Juan Crespo, SDB). This phase is also marked by the alternation of moments of personal reflection, of confrontation with groups and assemblies, of spaces in which each has the opportunity to express ideas and points of view.
“At the root of perennial vitality, to the source of fidelity, to the Constitutions, to live today the ever-actual spirituality of our origins, with the same passion as Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello for the mission.