CATHOLIC SALESIAN Sisters the institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Honiara celebrated 150th anniversary of the foundation of their institute at Don Bosco Technical Institution and Mary Mazzarello Development Centre, Henderson on September 24th 2022.
The institute was founded by Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello in 1872.
The celebration begins with a thanksgiving Holy Mass led by Archbishop Christopher Cardone OP along with Fr. Charles Casper SDB, Rector of Don Bosco Technical Institution in Honiara.
Other concelebrants included Diocesan Priests Fr. Michael Toisuta, Fr. Nicksons, Fr. Peter Chele, Fr. Jim Nolan, with other Salesian Priests Fr. Robinson Parapilly SDB, Fr. Soni SDB, and Marist Priest Fr. Patelisio SM.
With a joyful liturgy led by the FMA sisters, Past Pupils Association, current students of Maria Mazzarello Development Centre, Laura Vicuna girls and Savio boys.
Archbishop Christopher in the homily, with simplicity and fraternity, thanked the sisters for the good examples of life with which they laid the foundations of the faith of the FMA. With some anecdotes, he made the homily cheerful, meaningful, and profound.
“To always remember the past with gratitude and to always appreciate the coming of the Don Bosco and Salesian Sisters where it travels from Italy right to the smallest islands of the South Pacific”.
He then encourage all to be a Prayerful men and women of action and to bring the Gospel and Good news to all communities in Solomon Islands”, he said,
“All religious people especially the sisters to live in the present and the ministry with enthusiasm. And to always do the work of the lord with a joyful heart and smile and to Look to the future with Hope”
“Thus, it is important that we renew our Christian commitment within our society and to hear the cry of today’s people, even those of the unborn, and to accompany them so that they meet Christ who will fill their life with joy”.
“FMA sisters is a good example to reach out and evangelise, providing education and enriching to all communities”, He continued.
And further acknowledges the Salesian sisters for their hardworking in Solomon Islands.
The Holy Mass continued with a significant moment created when all the sisters present, Sr. Claudia Aragon FMA, Sr. Emema FMA, and two Solomon Islands Sisters, Sr. Salome FMA and Sr. Julie FMA renewed their professional vows in the presence of the Archbishop Christopher Cardone OP and Provincial of the South Pacific Region, Sr. Louise McKeogh FMA.
After Mass, Sr. Claudia Aragon, School Principal at Mary Mazzarello Development Center, School for women and girls, acknowledges all religious communities and all Christians to help celebrated the wonderful event with them.
The Celebration continued with historical presentations retracing the foundation and journey of the institute.
According to presentations from the FMA sisters “150 years ago, in Mornese (Northern Italy), St John Bosco and Mother Maria Domenica Mazzarello founded a community of 11 young women, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, as an evolvement of the foundation of the Salesians of Don Bosco, with their respective main objectives being those of working amongst the poor and emarginated young girls and boys of their time”.
“Today there are over 11,500 sisters in 97 nations, including Solomon Islands. Eventually, Sr Mazzarello became the mother general of the new congregation founded by St John Bosco in 1872”.
“In Solomon Islands, the Salesian Sisters worked in Gizo Diocese and Honiara at Henderson, Creating Schools for women and girls who didn’t make to formal education”. Said Sr. Claudia Aragon FMA.
At the end of the ceremony before cutting of the anniversary cake, a speech for the occasion was delivered by Hellen, head of the Past Pupils Group in MMDC.
Helen acknowledged the Salesian Sisters and past and present Principals of MMDC School at Laura Vicuna, for their great help in bringing the great skills to the local women in Solomon Islands which helped them in their daily living.
Moreover, Sr. Louise McKeogh FMA, Provincial of the South Pacific Region, expressed her gratitude to the religious and lay communities for their presence, the love and care they showed to the Institute and the Province.
The day ended with a time of celebration with the families, and all religious members who witnessed the day with great enthusiasm and joyful heart as they danced and eat together.
By Leotina Akwai, Catholic Communication