Mother Yvonne’s presence with us is indeed a blessing!

5th March 2018 is a memorable day for the Province of INB but especially for Auxilium Convent, and Mazzarello Youth Centre Wadala as they are graced with the motherly presence of our Mother General, Mother Yvonne, a memory that will be cherished forever by the two communities. At 8.20 am the students of Auxilium High School, Wadala, extended a glorious welcome to Mother. At the entrance she was greeted  by Sr. Meenakshi D’silva and Sr. Hilda Braganza, the two superiors of  Auxilium Convent High School and Mazzarello Youth Centre respectively and all the other animators of the communities of the Province. After the traditional aarati,  Mother Yvonne was escorted by the Auxilium squad accompanied by the Bombay march. As mother was led in a pompous procession, lined with pretty flower girls along the path, together with the guard of honour, a troupe of Rajasthani dancers danced their way towards the basement which was packed with children joyously waving their colourful pom poms in sheer excitement at the sight of our beloved Mother. The entire atmosphere was charged with overflowing joy and deep contentment. Mother proceeded towards the hall on the first floor of Mazzarello Youth Centre where the school children, teaching and non-teaching staff, the past pupils, parents, sisters and well wishers were eagerly awaiting her arrival.

In the hall, Mother Provincial, Sr. Rita Dora Thomas addressed the gathering, once again extending a warm welcome to the Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Yvonne Reungoat and introducing her to the entire assembly. She informed the gathering that Mother Yvonne was the 9th Superior General of the FMA Institute, she hails from France and has 49 years of Religious Profession; her service of authority and governance is indeed commendable. When asked to take up the delicate task of leading and guiding the Institute, she simply quoted, “When I am weak, then I am strong, I entrust myself to Mary and accept her invitation ‘Do whatever He tells you’.” Sr. Rita Dora concluded her address by wishing Mother Yvonne an  enriching experience of communion and family spirit in our Province.

Sr. Meenakshi D’silva, on behalf of the Auxilium School, presented a token of love and gratitude to Mother Yvonne while Sr. Rita Dora presented a floral tribute to Mother. This was followed by a short cultural programme staged by the Auxilium students which was a marvellous display of the Maharashtrian culture, truly showcasing the rich Indian cultural heritage.

In her message to the students, Mother advised them to be happy always and try to find ways of making others happy since joy and happiness were the hallmark of our saintly Founders, Mother Mazzarello and Don Bosco. She concluded with an assurance of her prayers for each and every individual present and especially for the SSC students who were answering their board exams today.

The different groups comprising of the sisters, past-pupils, teachers, non-teaching staff and parents then came forward and posed for photographs with Mother Yvonne. A short break followed during which Mother freely interacted with all those who approached her, generously blessing them and offering words of advice and love to them.

After the break, Mother Yvonne met the Animators of the various communities of the INB Province in the AMAR media hall. The meeting commenced with a short prayer invoking God’s assistance to be open and docile to the workings of the Holy Spirit followed by a power point presentation which provided information of the 4 states, namely Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka. It clearly showcased the life of the sisters living in contemplation and action trying to bring many people closer to God through various activities. It showed a striving to be living witnesses to Christ who is the centre of Religious life. Mother then addressed the Animators and began the meeting by asking them to introduce themselves to her for better acquaintance.

After tea Mother Yvonne made herself available to meet sisters individually. In the evening, once again all of us assembled together and this time it was a larger family celebration including our Salesian Fathers and the SMI sisters. Before the Eucharistic celebration, representatives of the educating community carried their offerings for the poor and needy to the altar after which the students of Auxilium High School, Wadala presented a prayer dance.  The Provincial of the Salesians, Rev, Fr. Godfrey D’souza presided over the Eucharistic celebration, 15 Salesians and Fr. Aniceto Nazareth, the brother of late Sr. Edvige Nazareth a diocesan priest concelebrated and offered the Mass for the intentions of Mother Yvonne, assuring her of prayers as she guided the Institute along the path of Salesian sanctity. He expressed his great happiness at being part of one great big family and asserted that he was happy to be present for the celebration.

In his homily, Fr. Godfrey exhorted the gathering to be “Elishas” of this age for the young and cure them from the leprosy of vices and other evils that are contagious. We have a special mission of being God’s instruments for the young especially the ostracized and abandoned of society, to bring healing and transformation  by accompanying them on life’s journey and in their search for the truth.

Soon after the Eucharistic celebration, all the priests together with Mother Yvonne and Sr. Rita Dora Thomas posed for a picture in front of the altar. After that all the FMAs posed for a picture with Mother Yvonne. The next group for a picture with Mother Yvonne were the SMI Sisters, members of the Salesian Family.

The Holy Eucharist was followed by a fellowship meal. Towards the end of the meal Mother Yvonne in her good-night talk expressed her deep joy of being united together as one Salesian Family. She was happy to see the union among the FMA and SDB which she said, enhanced our educational mission among the young and helped in maintaining good relationships. She went on to say that young people need to see and experience this closeness as a family so that vocations flourish. She spoke about the fire in the heart and zeal for souls remembering Don Bosco’s ‘Da mihi animas coetera tolle’. Mother concluded by encouraging us to be joyful always since happiness is contagious and to continue to be dynamic in society working with the same apostolic passion of our holy Founders.

Mother then gifted the Fathers and SMI sisters a memento as a remembrance of this significant event of her visitation.