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Happy Feast of Mother Mazzarello

Rome (Italy). The Solemnity of Mother Mazzarello is an occasion to reflect on her spiritual experience so as to live the sequela Christi by becoming masters of the spirit, able to guide others in the ways of the Spirit.

The same Holy Spirit who has ?poured the love of God into our hearts?, who ?leads us to the Truth?, also leads us to a generous and total response to God.  ?It is the Spirit who arouses in us the desire to respond fully.  He is the one who increases this desire in us, bringing a positive response to maturation and then sustaining us in its faithful execution?letting ourselves be guided by the Spirit in an incessant journey of purification, consecrated persons become ?conformed to Christ? day after day (VC 19).

From the experience of contemplating God and the Most High, as God-with-us, who loves us and listens to us, flows from the desire of a radical response of love; reciprocated love that is expressed in the effort of a deep journey of conformation to Jesus; of a life totally given for love.

A Journey of Conformation to Christ

The centre of Mary Mazzarello’s existence is one alone God.  From when she was small, she was attracted by God.  This is revealed in the question she asked her father when she was just a little child: ?What did God do before creating the world??

Attracted by God, Mary Domenica made a vow of chastity at the age of fifteen years and she made it radically and forever.  It is significant that the testimonies at the canonization process affirm that she was ?a heart all for God?.  To a God who loves us with a love of predilection, Mary Domenica corresponds with total love.

Her ardent love for the Eucharistic Jesus is revealed in her daily pilgrimage during her teenage years and early adulthood from the Valponasca to the Parish Church to participate at Mass and then in Eucharistic Communion.  The little window of the Valponasca is strongly symbolic of her Eucharistic love.  After a tiring day of work, she remained in prolonged contemplation and directed her gaze toward the tabernacle of the parish Church that she could see in the distance from the window of the Valponasca.

Mary Domenica felt it was important to learn how to make oneself dear to Jesus.  Those who are loved, desire to return love.  She writes to Sr. Laura Rodriguez, ?Study how to make yourself dear to Jesus?; to others she recommends to be ?courageous in corresponding to the beautiful grace received from Jesus (that of their vocation)? (Letter 64).  She affirmed to a missionary, ?Love everyone and all your sisters; love them always in the Lord; but your heart must be entirely for Jesus? (Letter 65: 3).

The most evident and resolute way to become dear to Jesus is to live and do everything for love of Him.  ?Let us console our dear Jesus and do everything in such a way that Jesus can say to us: my daughters, I am content with your work?.  And she concludes, ?What a pleasure to hear these beautiful words from Jesus? (Letter 55: 7).

Another aspect of her total love for God emerges from an expression often repeated by Mary Domenica, ?Everything to please God?.  Mary Domenica was a sincere woman, without ulterior motives, upright in her way of being and in her actions.  She does everything to please God and not for self-promotion or to please others.

She often reminded the Sisters of the motivations for every action: ?Try to do all your work with the only aim of pleasing God? (Letter 40: 7); ?to work with an upright intention? (L 17: 1); ?always work with the right intention of doing all for the Lord and He will give you a wonderful treasure of merits for Heaven? (L 59: 4).

In the Marian Way

Looking at Mary Domenica Mazzarello’s spiritual experience, we are aware of a true and proper Marian itinerary.  We find Our Lady beside Mary Domenica from her childhood to her death.  She bears her name, but above all, she carries her in her heart, in prayer, in the contemplation of her virtues, in her very identity as a consecrated woman, and she sees her as the model of apostolic holiness.  ?We are truly images of Our Lady as Don Bosco desires?.  The entire life of Mary Domenica was a journey of configuration to Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians.

Mary Domenica Mazzarello lived her educative mission and service of authority in a Marian style, in the awareness of simply being the ?vicar? of Our Lady.  Eulalia Bosco affirms, ?She always called Mary Help of Christians the superior of the house, saying of herself that she was simply a Vicar.  To the sisters that she sent to direct the various houses of the congregation, she used to say, ?Remember that the Superior is Our Lady?.  To a community that found it hard to accept the new superior, Mary Domenica Mazzarello invited them to consider the superior as though she were Our Lady.  Being an FMA does not consist solely in devotional practices, but had to lead to the assumption of styles and attitudes of the maternity of Mary of Nazareth in the educational mission.

The simple gesture of considering Our Lady the true Superior of the Institute and to place the keys of the house at her feet each night, demonstrates to what point Our Lady was a living presence at Mornese.  Mary Domenica gave her entire self and her daughters to her and entrusted all to her maternal protection (Sr. Eliane Petri, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians)

The reflection on the spiritual life of Mary Domenica Mazzarello as a journey of docility and fidelity to the Spirit reinforces the awareness that Christian life is life according to the Spirit.  God comes to meet us and invites us to walk with Him and participate in His life through the Spirit.