GC27: Piedmont, where our charism was born

On the evening of Friday 28 February the Goodnight talk was given by Fr Stefano Martoglio, Superior of the Salesians in Piedmont-Valle d’Aosta. He says it is “a normal Province in a complex multicultural area with all the challenges that come from being servants of the young.”

Fr Martoglio said that the province had 500 Salesians and 1,600 lay workers in 38 educational communities (including two in Lithuania): vocational training centres, oratories and parishes, University Colleges, homes for children. He also observed that “the Salesian Family in the province is rich and vibrant, with almost all the branches of the Salesian Family – a unique blessing!”

What really makes this a unique area is that we are the possessors of “a precious coffer that guards the treasure of the birth and growth of the congregation – the Salesian places.” This is a gift that has been given to us and entrusted to us to be guarded, to be kept alive and to be offered to others: “the riches of a house that preserves the memory of our father, the power of God that gave birth to our charism, the wealth of faith and apostolic courage for the growth of the entire congregation.”

Colle Don Bosco and Chieri tell the story of the growth in faith of the vocation of John Bosco. Valdocco speaks of the poverty and faith of our origins, and, no less important, the birth of our way of education. It recalls the founding of the Congregation.” Valdocco reminds us also of Don Bosco’s devotion to Mary which began under the title of Our Lady of Consolation, then of Mary Immaculate and eventually that of Mary Help of Christians.”

Fr Martogio continued: “Then came the Oratory of St. Aloysius, the church of St John the Evangelist, San Benigno, Lanzo, Foglizzo, Mirabello, Borgo San Martino … They all tell the story of the early development of the Congregation, and the steps taken by Don Bosco with growing confidence as he set about his God-given task of founding two Congregations, male and female.” Having custody of the places that recall our origins is a responsibility. It is our duty to make every stone and every space speak to those who come here.

This is a responsibility that affects the entire congregation and continues to be “a great wealth for the younger generations of Salesians in formation. There are many young Salesians from many different provinces in the formation houses of our province.”

He made a final appeal: “We all have a duty to make these places speak to the people to whom they are dedicated. A word is enough to the wise. Only the Lord can warm people’s hearts.”

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