MARY LEADS US TO JESUS
Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni, Spiritual
If it is true that a man's worth is based on the education he receives, it should be said that in 1852, when the 15 year old Michele Rua joined the oratory , he found himself immersed in an atmosphere of Christian piety filled with marian fervour. Fr Rua himself declared in 1895: " Don Bosco's devotion to Holy Mary was evident in every single moment of his life." More than once I saw him moved to tears when talking about such a good Mother: he often talked about Her, encouraging us to love Her, venerate Her and to put our trust in Her.
When epidemic diseases struck our community, he encouraged us to address Her, assuring us that we would be set free from such calamity if we avoided sin and wore Her medal as well as praying to Her During novenas or Marian feasts, every day he would assign us an act of mortification in Her honour, and during private conversations he would often tell us of graces received through Her intercession. He encouraged us to honour Her as an effective means to win any temptation and to grow in virtue."
Don Bosco set the dates of the Marian feasts which were most important to him and which marked the future of his work. On the 3d of October 1852, during a trip which the best of the youth from the Oratory went on every year to Becchi on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary", Don Bosco asked Michele Rua to wear the ecclesiastical habit.
Michele was 15 years old. That evening, on their way back to Turin, Michele, overcoming his shyness, asked Don Bosco: " Do you remember our first meetings? I asked you for a medal, and you made a strange gesture: as if you wanted to cut your hand off and give it to me, and then you said: "We will divide everything in half." What did you mean?" And he answered: " My dear Michele, you still don t understand? And yet it is crystal clear: as you grow older you will understand what I meant: in life you and I will divide everything in half between us: suffering, responsibilities, joys and all the rest everything will be shared between us." Michele went quiet but he was filled with happiness: in simple words, Don Bosco had proclaimed him his sole heir.
Don Rua always trusted Don Bosco and faithfully remained by his side in his apostolic mission with such marked Marian characteristics: he truly was Don Bosco's and his congregation's first born.
Don Bosco was not afraid to call young people to brave undertakings which by human standards were considered reckless. An example of this was the outbreak of cholera in the summer of 1854: " fear provoked the closure of all workshops and the flight of all those who could afford to leave. In some places, as soon as it was known that a person had been infected with the disease, his neighbours and sometimes his own family as well would abandon him." In the West of Valdocco a lazaret was set up. But only a few brave people would offer to care for the sick. Don Bosco therefore addressed the older ones among his youth, among whom the best of the Salesians to be could be found.
On the 26th
of January 1954, to four of them (among whom Michele Rua and
Cagliero), Don Bosco proposed : " with the Lord's and St
Francis de Sales help to put the commandment of love to one's
neighbour in practice and to then make a promise and (if possible)
a vow to the Lord. To those who accepted and will accept in the
future this proposal, on that evening was given the name of Salesians.
On the 5th
of August, Feast of the Virgin Mary of the Snow, Don Bosco, while
addressing the sick said:
Michele Rua's trial of beatification, Don Gioulio Barberis described
his personality in the following way:
The witness Lorenzo Saluzzo states: " I particularly remember hearing from the Servant of God these words: " One cannot be a good Salesian unless he is devoted to Mary help of Christians." On the 8th of December 1859, in Don Bosco's oratory in Valdocco, the feast of Mary Help of Christians was solemnly celebrated. The 184 young men who lived as boarders in Don Bosco's home were the heart of the summer oratory: they had sang, prayed and received communion from Don Bosco during Mass. Then, after an abundant breakfast and a time for games, they had prepared themselves for religious instruction. Many among them managed to talk to Don Bosco about their jobs, families, problems, and about their future. In the evening, following jolly "goodbye" songs, Don Bosco, who looked tired but was fully of joy, in his usual "good night" thanked Our Lady and all present for the wonderful day.
He then gave all boarders and their assistants (who whore the cassock in those days), a brief announcement that made the hearts of twenty amng them beat faster: "That evening Don Bosco publicly announced how, the following day (Friday), he would hold a special meeting in his room after the other youth had gone to bed. The priests, assistants and laity who cooperated with Don Bosco knew that meeting had to be important." And in the evening, after 9 o'clock following the usual day of prayer-study-work and joy, nineteen young men entered Don Bosco's small room.
Fr Lemoyne 's chronicle and the minutes transcribed by the biographer A Amadei, that " Don Bosco first of all called upon the Holy Spirit and Holy Mary's assistance, and then summed up what he had said in previous meetings. Then, visibly moved, he announced that the time to form their Association had come, which he had had in mind for a long time, for which Pio IX had encouraged him and praised him, and which in practice already existed, since most people present belong to it al least in spirit and followed its rules and because some of them had already made their temporary promise. The moment had come to announce that if they wanted to be part of it, the Association would have kept the name of St Francis de Sales." (6)
In such congregation, which would have supported the oratory, could only joined by those who intended to consecrate themselves to God, making a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience, and of devoting their life to the abandoned and endangered youth. "And so, this meeting should be attended only by those who intended to join such Association." Michele Rua (22 years old) had no doubts. Don Bosco had made an invitation which for him was (as always) an order. So much so that the next day he went to the Missionary Home to begin his religious exercises, and was temporarily ordained (11th December) and became a deacon (17th December).
Announcing the VI International Congress of Mary Help of Christians
On this special occasion of "Days devoted to the spirituality of the Salesian Family", we give thanks from the bottom of our heart for the opportunity to address you as members of the Association of Mary help of Christians.
In order to fulfil his vocation and mission of salvation for the youth and the people, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit Don Bosco created around him a great union of apostolic forces, in the shape of an articulated movement, in the unity of a Family. "We must unite" (He wrote in 1878) "among us and the whole Congregation Let's unite then in order to have the same goal and use the same means to fulfil it Let's unite as in a single family, where brotherly love may encourage us to help each other as well as our neighbour." Belonging to and helping the Salesian Family concretely express themselves through brotherly love and the collaboration among the various groups, by getting to know each other, through communal spirituality and the sharing of experiences.
of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), founded by Giovanni Bosco
in 1869, belongs to the Salesian Family " because of the
great salesian devotion (in the form established by Don Bosco)
towards Mary Help of Christians". This devotion commits
people to honour Mary, help and mother of the Church, by taking
part in Don Bosco's mission in favour of the youth and the people,
particularly by increasing and defending the Christian faith
among the people." In the Salesian Family the Association
highlights and spreads the devotion to Mary, as an instrument
of evangelisation and promotion in favour of the needy and of
Which will take place in Czestochowa (Poland)
At the Shrine of the Black Madonna
From the 3d to the 6th of August 2011
The grace to celebrate our congress in such a holy place, rich in faith, history and spirituality, and marked by the testimony of holiness of so many men and women of God aims to be of great stimulus to renovate our commitment to be (following Mary's footsteps) authentic disciples and passionate apostles to bring the Gospel to the youth.
motto "Totus tuus", encourages us to have holiness
as our goal and to have the great marian devotion which characterised
the servant of God John Paul II, and also aims to express our
Our wish and that of all Salesians, FMA and Salesian cooperators in Poland who have welcomed the invitation to host and coordinate the event with great joy , is that this may be a meeting of the Salesian Family, which in the name of Mary Help of Christians may grow in brotherly communion and apostolic collaboration.
Mary, who was the first to welcome and bring to all the announcement of salvation, teaches us and guides us to fulfil our common vocation as individuals and people who have met the Crucified and Risen Christ, and announce it with joy and faithfulness. From Her we learn that the depth of the experience of God is the root of the mission, and that the first and main way of evangelisation is the testimony of faith. Such testimony becomes more convincing when we approach the men and women of our time, (and the youth in particular), as brothers and friends and we accompany them radiating joy and hope. This way we transmit what we believe in and we show through our life what we announce.
Il Rector Fr
Pascual Chávez has always encouraged us to consider such
Congresses as a special occasion to strengthen the devotion to
Mary help of Christians, and reminds us of the importance of
the devotion to the Mother of God, as was promoted by Don Bosco.
"My dear brothers and sisters" said Fr Chavez during
the V Congress in Mexico City in 2007, "Today as in Don
Bosco's time, profound social and cultural changes are annihilating
the family. The Chruch and the Salesian Family are called to
indicate Jesus and His Gospel, just like Mary did. Like Don Bosco,
we members of the Salesian Family renew our vocation of shepherds
of the youth, with the mission to bring them to Christ, the only
one who will not disappoint even the greatest expectations, and
who is able to satisfy their thirst and hunger for life, happiness
and love. As we try to fulfil our mission we know we are not
alone, as Mary was given to us as a powerful Help against evil
in the fight for the salvation of the youth. Mary Help of Christians
is the one who with maternal love, takes care of those who are
experiencing trials in this dark world pictured at her feet in
the Basilica of Turin.
We await any
suggestions and advice that may enrich this experience of spirituality
and communion under the guidance of Mary. Our wish and commitment
id that all groups of the Salesian Family may participate in
this event in great numbers, and that this Congress may be, through
Mary Help of Christians, an extraordinary gift of grace for the
whole Salesian Family.
Sig. Lucca Tullio,
NEW COUNCIL FOR THE PRIMARY ADMA (2010-2014)
was that while the Council guarantees a continuity with tradition,
at the same time it is open to new generations which are present
in the area of Turin. We thank all members of the previous Council:
CATANIA - CIFALI
- S. GIOVANNI BOSCO' CHURCH.
FOR THE APOSTOLATE OF PRAYER - FEBRUARY 2010
"For all men of science and knowledge, so that through an
honest search for truth, they may get to know the "One true
We pray the Lord for the victims of the catastrophe which has hit the population of Haiti, as well as for those who are grieving their loved ones. We assure them of our prayers as well as of material help for those who have lost their home or who have been affected in many different ways. We implore God to grant them consolation through their suffering. We remember in particular all the Salesians and the young people who have died in this tragedy. May Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco intercede for both the living and the departed.
Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni, Spiritual
We warmly invite all the groups of Spanish language, particularly those of America, to make known and spread the Review of Mary Help of Christians in the Spanish Edition.
ADMA HEADQUARTERS Torino-Valdocco: