Feast of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello

Mary_Domenica_MazzarelloToday, 13th May 2015, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello, co-foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters).

May we continue to care for all those entrusted to us, especially the young and the needy.
Happy Feast to all!

   Sr Mary Doran FMA

Early life

Mary Domenica was born on May 9, 1837, in Mornese (Alessandria). At home she was helped to develop a solid piety, untiring work and that outstanding common sense and depth of judgement that she would show in later life as Congregational Leader. At fifteen, she joined the Association of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and began her apostolate among the young people of her village.

A serious attack of typhoid, at the age of 23, had a profound spiritual effect on her. The experience of her own physical fragility, on the one hand, deepened her abandonment to God and, on the other, encouraged her to open a sewing school to educate the girls in work, prayer and love of God.


Encounter with Don Bosco

Thanks to her intense sacramental life, and under the wise guidance of Fr. Pestarino, she made great progress in the spiritual life. On the occasion of Don Bosco’s visit to Mornese (10-8-1864) she said: “Don Bosco is a saint and I feel it”. In 1872 Don Bosco chose her to begin the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters).


As Congregational Leader, she proved a capable formator and teacher of spiritual life. She was cheerful and serene, and spread peace wherever she went. She radiated joy and involved other young people in her dedication to the education of women.

Spiritual heritage

The Institute developed rapidly. At her death, she left her Daughters an educational tradition, permeated by Gospel values: the search for God, whom we come to know through enlightened catechesis and ardent love, responsibility in work, sincerity and humility, austerity of life and joyful self-giving.

She died in Nizza Monferrato on May 14, 1881.

Her remains are venerated in the Basilica of Mary Our Help in Turin. Her feast is celebrated on May 13.


Christ is Lord and Light of Nations
We his people all proclaim.
Through St Mary Mazzarello,
May we glorify his name.

In the beauty of his teaching
She found joy in God above.
“Let us learn to speak with Jesus
In his Eucharistic Love”.

Throughout life she walked with Mary,
Learning from Don Bosco’s way.
Guided by the Holy Spirit,
Cheerful, humble, prompt to pray.

Christ her model in all virtue,
God her choice from dawn of youth.
By a life of prayer and service
She led countless souls in truth.

Loving Father, Christ our brother,
Let your Spirit on us shine;
Teaching us to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

(R.McShane FMA)

From the letters of St Mary Domenica Mazzarello

(Ed. M.E. Posada, Roma 1980; Lettere 20. 23. 39; 104. 111-112. 149 passim)

Clothe yourselves with the love of the Lord Jesus

My dear Sisters, know how to love one another. What great consolation I feel when I receive news from the houses and know that there is charity among the Sisters, that they obey willingly, that they love the Holy Rule. My heart feels great consolation and continually implores blessings on all of you, that you may truly put on the Spirit of the good Jesus and so do so much good to yourselves and to the poor neighbour in such great need of help. But what was the Spirit of the Lord like? It was a humble Spirit, patient and full of charity – the kind of charity shown by Jesus himself who never wearied of suffering for us, even to the extent you know of. Courage therefore! Let is imitate our dear Jesus in everything, but especially in humility and love.

Yes, my dear daughters in Jesus, take courage: Jesus loves you. It is true that there are times when you have pains and distress to suffer, but the Lord wants you to help him to carry his cross in this world. He was the first to give us the good example in suffering; and so let us follow him with courage and resignation in suffering. You can be certain that those whom Jesus asks to suffer more grievously are those who are closest to him. But we must do everything with a pure intention, to please him alone.

Courage then, my dear daughters; remember that everything in this world is passing away; so let nothing disturb you, for everything is a means to enable us to find true happiness. Be joyful. Be always joyful, never give or take offence, but as soon as you are aware that some other Sister needs support or encouragement be quick to assist her; give each other help and consolation. Have great charity; love one another. Do your utmost to preserve the spirit of union with God, living always in his presence. Be always joyful and humble.


Father, source of all that is good,
you give us in Mary Domenica Mazzarello
a shining example of Christian and religious life
through her deep humility and ardent charity;
grant that we, in simplicity of spirit,
may bear daily witness to your Fatherly love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Photo & Image

3missioni1881-ritratto Mary_Domenica_Mazzarello

Salesian Sisters in Ireland

The Salesian sisters came to Ireland in 1920. We were invited to Limerick by the then Bishop Denis Hallinan, who knew Don Bosco personally in Turin. Our first house in Limerick was in Thomas St, in the city, St Ita’s .

In 1924 The Cleeve’s property on the north side of the Shannon was bought and became the community house for the sisters. It had plenty of ground for development and was later was to accommodate three schools – an Infant School, a Primary and a Secondary.

Today we are in 13 communities in the Dublin and Limerick areas.

As Salesian sisters we dedicate our lives to God and make a conscious option to be open to the needs of young people and families, especially those most disadvantaged. Our recent General Chapter has urged us “to be with the young a home which evangelises”, through our lives and through our Salesian approach in relationships both in community and with others.

The sisters are involved in formal and non-formal education in schools schools; in clubs and after-school activities, Follow Your Dream; pastoral work in parishes, sacramental preparation, promoting spirituality in various ways, various forms of therapy and counselling, Vides volunteers, keeping in touch with past Pupils, Cooperators’ Association etc. We share these ministries with our lay colleagues.

FMA-vocations_1Salesian Sisters are an international congregation working in 94 countries of the five continents. Here in Ireland our sisters are involved in a wide variety of ministries. These include:

  • Working with young people at all levels
  • Education through Junior, Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Parish Ministries
  • Clubs for youth and young at heart
  • Visitation, counselling, social work
  • Art therapy
  • Youth leadership programmes
  • Chaplaincy
  • Adult literacy programmes
  • Youth retreats/spirituality
  • Sacramental preparation
  • Prayer groups for adults and young people