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Rome (Italy). On October 24, 2014 at 9.35 am (Italian time) the Chapter Members re-elected as Mother General Sr. Yvonne Reungoat the 9th successor of Mother Maria Domenica Mazzarello.
The central moment of a General Chapter is the election of the Superior General and the Councillors who will take on the task of animation and government for the next six years.
The election of Mother General is the first fruit of the discernment process begun on Wednesday the 22nd, and accompanied by Fr. Josè Cristo Rey Garcia Paredes.
The day of the election, October 24, opened with a solemn Eucharist, celebrated by the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime. In his homily he said: “Whatever He tells you, do it” these are a few words of a mother. Therefore, dearest Sisters, here is the path of true discernment: Place yourself in an attitude of listening to the Teacher, to Jesus and to His Spirit, with an open heart, docile and purified. And if you hear Him tell you, “fill those jars with water”, do it, without starting to say, “but how come, if we need wine…”. Simply do it! Allow yourselves to be guided by Mary and the entire world will be a witness to new life, a collective life that will give even greater life, even greater strength, greater spirit to our Family.
At 9am, the Chapter Members met in the chapter hall to vote. The result was the re-election of Mother Yvonne Reungoat for the second six year term as 9th Superior General of the Institute of the Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. After the election, Sr. Ciriaca Hernández, the Chapter Member who is longest professed, asked Mother Yvonne if she was ready to be the successor of Mother Mazzarello, to incarnate her motherhood and to “share in a new season of prophecy in the Institute at the service of the Church”. With deep emotion, Mother pronounced: “I accept! I thank you for your trust. The biblical expression that sustains me is: “When I am weakest, it is then that I am strong”. I entrust myself entirely to Mary and I welcome her invitation: “Do whatever He asks of you. “.
This event was accompanied by great applause, followed by an embrace from each Chapter Member. Among the first to congratulate Mother, were the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, and some Councillors, representatives of the Salesian Family and members of the nearby educating communities of Rome. The Sisters of the Generalate and of Sacro Cuore, together with the pupils of the school also greeted Mother.
After this, Mother and all the Chapter Members went to the Chapel for a moment of prayer, during which the Vicar General Sr. Emilia Musatti, in the name of all those present, offered Mother … the book of the Bible. The gift was accompanied by a few words, including the commitment to support Mother in her journey, “so that she may be able to continue to be our guide in penetrating the Word and putting in into practice”. She concluded: “Thanks for your YES to this new call. You have accepted it with faith, in complete availability. We give you our complete fidelity, affection and prayer. With you, we will give our whole selves, what we are and what we can do, so that, with the young people, every community may be a welcoming home, where the flavour of the Bread and the Word is appreciated more than anything else”.
Mother Yvonne expressed her thanks in these words: “I thank you for your trust which is also a responsibility. Together, we are responsible for one another. Alone, I would not make sense, because there would be no Mother if there were daughters, and if there is no family. Therefore feeling ourselves thus united, in deep communion, makes us also happy for our vocation and helps us to live this moment in history means that we have hope in our hearts”.
In conclusion the Magnificat was sung.
In the afternoon, the communities of the houses that depend directly on Mother General in Rome expressed their wishes to Mother Yvonne in song and dance. In the evening, following tradition, the celebrations were continued by the Chapter Members.