Saturday 29 March 2014

SDBs and FMAs: mutual self-mediation in human formation

Preparing for class this morning on Don Bosco Founder and Mary Mazzarello co-Foundress of the FMA, I was reading Cagliero's beautiful testimony:
"Don Bosco appointed me Director of the new Institute and I used confer with him frequently and seek his sound advice regarding the formation of the Sisters and their religious and moral spirit. In his usual kindly way he would put me at ease, saying, 'You know the spirit of our Oratory, our Preventive System: the secret of gaining the affection, attention and obedience of the boys, loving them all and never hurting their feelings, assisting them day and night with fatherly care, patient charity and unfailing kindliness. Well, our good Mother Mazzarello possesses all these qualities, and we can be quite confident that the government of the Institute and the Sisters is in good hands. She has only to align herself, as she does, with the spirit, system and distinctive character of our Oratory and our Salesian Constitutions and deliberations. The Sisters' Congregation is the same as ours. It has the same aim and uses the same means, and with example and word Mother Mazzarello inculcates both in her Sisters. They in their turn imitate their Mother, and rather than superiors, rectresses and mistresses, they are tender mothers among the girls they are educating." (Memoria Storica of Cardinal Cagliero, written in 1918 and kept in the FMA Generalate; cited by Maccono in St Mary Domenica Mazzarello, Co-foundress and first Superior General of the FMA, I 274; Turin-FMA 1960). [Cited in Vigano', AGC 301.]
Perhaps its time that SDBs looked to Mary, and to the other Mary who is Mazzarello, as well as to many other FMAs like Mother Virginia Marchetti and Sr Adriana Grasso of Cremisan who embody what Don Bosco called 'the spirit of the Oratory.' It would be a move away from a unidirectional relationship between SDBs and FMAs and a move in the direction of 'mutual self-mediation' between two important branches of the Salesian Family. This, I think, is very much an aspect of what Vigano's remark that the FMAs are part of the overall charismatic project of Don Bosco. 

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