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Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA)

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History of FMA

Our religious family has its origin in the heart and mind of St. John Bosco and in the creative fidelity with which St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello and her Sisters assumed the project he intended, that of being called ‘Daughters of Mary Help of Christians’ (Salesian Sisters), a living monument of gratitude to his Madonna.

At the persistent request of many people in Turin, and as a result of his own perceptions, Don Bosco resolved to take steps in setting up an Institute that would reach out to many poor and abandoned young girls.

He was inspired to do so, through his contact with various female institutes, his deep Marian devotion, the encouragement received from Pope Pius IX and the many signs he had in this regard, through dreams and significant happenings.

It so happened that in the township of Mornese, situated in the hills of Monferrato, a young woman by the name of Mary Domenica Mazzarello was accompanying a group of young women who together with her, were dedicated to helping young girls learn a trade and while doing so, guided them in their Christian development.

There were two significant signs that conveyed the same message: that an educative environment similar to the one for boys at Valdocco, Turin, should be set up for children and young girls. It was Mary Domenica Mazzarello who, as co-founder gave life and form to this newly founded Institute.

On August 5th 1872, the first group of young women, following the example of Mother, in declaring their Yes to God’s call, committed themselves to be helpers of young people.

Source: FMA Philippines

1815 August: John Bosco was born at Becchi (Castelnuovo d’Asti) Italy.
1817 5th January: Fr. Dominic Pestarino, the confessor and spiritual director of Mary Domenica Mazzarello was born at Mornese (Alessandria) Italy.
1837 9th May: Mary Domenica Mazzarello, the co-foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians was born in the Mazzarelli hamlet at Mornese, Italy.
1864 7th October: Don Bosco stopped at Mornese: first meeting with Mary Mazzarello.
1871 In May Don Bosco told his closest collaborators about his plan to found a women’s religious congregation.

In June that same year the Holy Father, Pius IX, gave his approval.

During the summer Don Bosco entrusted Fr. Dominic Pestarino with the first draft of the Constitutions of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

1872 5th August: Foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA); first admissions to the novitiate and first professions in the presence of the founder, Don Bosco, and the Bishop of Acqui, Mgr, Joseph Sciandra. Mary Domenica Mazzarello was the first superior with the title of substitute or ‘vicar’.;

prime vestizioni e professioni, presente il Fondatore don Giovanni Bosco e il Vescovo di Acqui mons. Giuseppe Sciandra.

Maria Domenica Mazzarello è la prima superiora con il titolo di “vicaria”

1873 The education authorities of Castelletto d’Orba officially recognised the first boarding school and the primary school of the FMA at Mornese.
1874 8th October: the first FMA house was opened at Borgo San Martino (Alessandria) – Italy.
1875 28th August: Mary Domenica Mazzarello and the first FMA made their perpetual vows into the hands of Don Bosco.
1876 23rd January: diocesan approval of the Constitutions. 29th March: the first house in Turin-Valdocco was opened.
1877 1st September: the first house of the Institute outside Italy was opened at Nice (France).

9th November: Mother Mary Domenica Mazzarello and the first missionaries were received in audience by Pius IX.

14th November: the first six missionaries left for Uruguay.

1878 8th December: first printed edition of the Constitutions.
1879 4th February: the Mother house was transferred from Mornese to Nizza Monferrato (Italy).
1880 The Salesians and FMA began missionary work in Patagonia (Argentina).

12th April: the first boarding school was closed in Mornese, Italy.

1881 February-March: Mother Mary Domenica Mazzarello was taken seriously ill a St. Cyr.

14th May Mother Mary Domenica Mazzarello died at Nizza Monferrato aged 44. She left 26 houses and 166 sisters.

On 18th August Sr. Catherine Daghero was elected superior general.

1884 From 11th – 22nd August the 1st General Chapter was held.
1885 Second edition of the Constitutions revised by Don Bosco.
1886 From 14th – 23rd August the 2nd General Chapter took place.
1888 31st January: the Founder Don Bosco died in Turin.

3rd December: the FMA established the first house in the southernmost tip of South America (Chile).

1890 Don Bosco’s cause of canonization was introduced.
1891 8th October: the first foundation in the Middle East – Bethlehem.
1892 From 16th – 19th August the 3rd General Chaper took place.
1893 8th December: first foundation in Africa: Mers-el-Kebir (Algeria).
1897 The FMA returned to Mornese.
1899 From 4th – 7th September the 4th General Chapter was held

Source: FMA Rome

Contact FMA Philippines for more information.

Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
FMA Provincial House
3500 V. Mapa Extension, Sta. Mesa, Manila
Tel: (02) 714-5937
Fax:(02) 716-0208
Website: Daughters of Mary Help of Christians