Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

St Mary Mazzarello


Mary Mazzarello, like many of those we have read, was born into a poor family of country peasants, she was the eldest child born to parents Joseph and Maddalena in the year 1837 on the 9th of May.
Mary lived with her family in the small village of of Mornese where her family lived on a small farm not far from Genoa, Italy. Like many families of that time Mary's family were devout Catholics who worked hard on the land in order to provide for their growing family.
So coming from such hardy stock Mary grew strong and resilient and would often walk long miles to attend Mass. It was then that Mary heard about and joined the sodality of Mary as she had a very great love for our Blessed Mother. Mary also tried to do charitable works when she had finished her daily duties at home. For like many poor families Mary's parents relied on her to help out on the farm, and to provide a good example for her other siblings, Mary did not disappoint them.
It was whilst she was administering to her charitable work that Mary caught the dreaded disease typhoid and nearly died. This was to have long term affects on her health and when she recovered from this dreaded illness she was no longer the robust Mary of old. This had consequences for her family in that she could no longer do the arduous work that farm life entailed, so Mary in an attempt to help her family financially and to also provide a private income for herself decided to take up dressmaking.
In order to prosper at this venture Mary went into partnership with a friend, and as the orders flowed they then decided to employ young girls of the region to work for them in their dress making business.
Mary was also aware of the works of the Priest Don Bosco and tired to emulate his charism by employing young girls of dubious background and tried to instil in these girls virtue through hard work and self respect.
Don Bosco himself encouraged Mary in this venture, and it was then that they both collaborated in forming 'The Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians' in the year 1872. Don Bosco himself wrote out the rule for this new order and of course placed Mary as its first Superior, he also donated to them find their first home for girls.
This was to cause some disturbance in the nearby villages who were against such an idea, fearing that the young girls and boys would be unruly and would bring trouble to their village. The villagers at times showed great discourtesy to Mary and her Sisters, none of which stopped the Sisters from their vocation.
But Mary would not allow these petty annoyances to interfere in her and Don Bosco's vision of providing a better life for those young boys and girls who were born impoverished. Their ideal was to inculcate these young people with a love for God, Church and also of self respect and a respect for others, this took time and patience and a lot of hard work.
They were fortunate in that Mary was never afraid of hard work, in that she too was born into a peasant family, so she understood some of the problems the young girls who were in her care may have encountered. This is why Mary tried to teach her girls the virtues and also a sense of decorum in their lifestyles as well as providing them with an education with the assistance of her fellow Sisters and Don Bosco himself.
Mother Mary and Don Bosco succeeded in this venture beyond their imaginings during her own life time she was to see the opening of 13 more convents which provided help for the poor youth in the area and also became a training ground for her Sisters in their aspirations to join the Missions world wide.
But Mary who had become weakened and never fully recovered from her bout with typhoid many years earlier, became frail as time went on. It was while on a business trip that she fell seriously ill and a Priest was called to administer the Last Rites. As she lay dying Mother Mary was heard quietly singing hymns to her beloved Blessed Mother!
Mother Mary Mazzarelllo died in 1881 at only 44 years of age.
She was canonized in 1951 by Pope PiusXll.
Mother Mary Mazzerello and Don Bosco lived the true meaning of Charity of spirit and both are buried beside each other. Their Mission continues to this very day!
Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

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