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A Month with Mother Mazzarello

The novices of Bellefonte were privileged to begin the year 2016 together with Mother Mazzarello through a study about her life and her spirituality. 13 February – 19 March 2016 marked the Salesian spirituality month on the life of St. Mary Mazzarello our Co-foundress. In this one-month course, the Novices were involved in the different group works, activities and spiritual animations. The study was divided into four stages, each characterized by a precise area of the maturation in Mother Mazzarello’s Christians and consecrated life.

The first stage 1837-1850, refers to the first thirteen years from her birth in Mornese. These were years lived in the family, characterized by a solid Christian life and by tireless work as peasants. Intelligent, strong willed, and gifted with a rich affectivity, Mary Domenica undertook her journey of maturing her faith accompanied by her parents and by her wise director Fr. Domenico Pestarino.

The second stage1850 – 1860, is characterized by a marked internalization of faith, a fruit of her first holy communion. This would lead her to consecrate her youth to God with the vow of virginity and with her zealous participation in the life of the Parish, especially through her membership in the group of the daughters of Mary Immaculate.

The third stage 1860 -1872, we see her as a woman more open to God’s plan in her life. The encounter with St. John Bosco in 1864 is God’s response to the deepest apostolic desire in her heart. This period is also one of  identification and purification. At 23 she was stricken ill with a severe case of typhoid, an event that would profoundly change her life. She leaves behind her work in the farm, not only because of the loss of her physical strength but because a clear educational intuition begins to mature in her. Thus she dedicates herself to the education of young girls of the village though a sewing workroom, a festive oratory and a home for orphaned girls.

The fourth and last stage: 12 years from the attack of typhoid to the foundation of the Institute and the last stage 1872 -1881 is characterized by the years of maturity, death and glorification. Mary Domenica Mazzarello’s spiritual motherhood through the formation of the Sisters, her numerous travels to visit the new foundations, the growth and missionary expansion of the Institute, her written word, the daily offering of herself in “patient and compassionate charity”.

Based on these four stages, we have prepared a short script on the different stage. One of the most excited moments was the preparation and the inauguration of the simple and meaningful exhibition inaugurated by the animator of the house, Sr. Carmelina Sun, in the presence of all the Sisters and our lay collaborators, which was also the fruit of our research and study. We concluded the Mazzarello month with a pilgrimage to the Church of St. Mary Mazzarello at Mawlyngad, one of the Sunday oratories run by the Sisters of Auxilium Nongthymmai.  We are grateful to Fr. Gabriel Jalong SDB the main celebrant of the day for availing himself in spite of his busy schedule.

In humility we would say that our research and study about our Mother has broadened our knowledge and are exhorted to relive and to revive her virtues and her spirit. We also express our gratitude to Sr. Habathmulang Dkhar and Sr. Elisha Sangma our assistants and especially to our Mother Mistress Sr. Rosa Pyngrope for organizing the programme and for giving us this opportunity to deepen the Charism of our Saintly Mother Mazzarello with zeal and enthusiasm.