Know St. Mary Mazzarello through a tour of her places
Mornese is the birthplace of Mary Domenica Mazzarello, where she spent 42 years of her life. Mornese Mornese was an open door, that enlarged her heart to the horizons of the entire world.
Mary Domenica, lived her youth with intensity, in this beautiful place steeped in silence, in the colour of the vinyards at the side of a farmhouse. At this school of silence she learned the precious value of life…
… she learned to weave a life of profound rapport with God… … she learned to open the mind and the heart to welcome everyone.
A little window on the west side of the farmyard: “an eye of fire” that would burn for love of the horizon beyond. Here Mary Domenica had chosen to close her days of intense work and sacrifice.
In the evening she used to go to the window from where she could faintly see the light of the Tabernacle, and she gathered all the familes in her prayer.
how to comtemplate along with her brothers and sisters. On leaving for the Parish in the morning she used to carry along the work of the day, her co-workers and her experiences in the vineyard . Here at Valponasca, where only the wind blew in all directions to break the silence, Mary Domenica learned
The parish witnessed the birth, the nurturing and the blossoming of the holiness of Mary Domenica. Here at the school of Fr. Pestarino, she learned the way of intimacy with God, such that she could say, after her sickness, the prayer that sustained her througout her life: “ Lord, if you give me a little more time to live, let me be forgotten by all, so that I will be happy in the knowledge that I am remembered by YOU only.”
Before the church door, Mary used to remain kneeling even in the cold of winter, waiting for it to be opened. The tiring morning pilgrimage to the parish in order to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist testifies to her desire to become more Christ-like and to participate in His redemptive love.
The main altar was the converging point of Mary’s young aspirations. From here she drew the strength and the love to enrich her work in the vineyard and in the joyful activity among children of the village.
The tabernacle : a point of reference of the morning and evening encounter with Christ and the centre of all existence. It is really this staying in the presence of God that allowed Mother Mazzarello to unite all of her being to the Lord: to receive the gift of wisdom, to open up to the experience of divine mystery, to encounter the divine with familiarity, to see the human condition from God’s point of view.
"I entrust them to you" One day as she passed the Borgoalto hillock, she suddenly saw before her a set of buildings that appeared to be an institute filled with numerous young women. She stopped to look. Full of amazement, she said to herself: “I have never seen anything like this before? This building never existed here. What’s happening?” And she heard a voice saying:
On 7 October 1864 D on Bosco came to Mornese The Daughters of the Immaculate were happy, but none responded as Mary did. She said to them: “ Don Bosco is a saint and I feel it!” All the people came to meet him, preceded by the parish priest and by Fr. Pestarino.
The Institute Don Bosco envisioned for the youth of Mornese was established after much hard work and sacrifice. It was the first house of Mary Mazzarello and her companions.
On 5 August 1872 in the little chapel of the Institute “the Veni Creator Spiritus is intoned. The 14 fortunate ones move up to kneel before the altar carrying on their arms their new religious habit. They are dress well and their eyes sparkle with joy. The voice of Mary Domenica Mazzarello, full of emotion yet determined, is heard: “ I am, Sr. Mary Domenica Mazzarello (…) I make the vow to to be chaste, poor and obedient (…)”.
It is Don Bosco’s turn to speak: All that we are and all the good we have done is through the assistance of Mary Help of Christians. I therefore wish that you be a living monument of gratitude to her benign Motherliness. Yes, this monument is The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
In the courtyard of the Institute is a little well, a symbol of a life of poverty and sacrifice, one that is limpid and joyful. Around this well, Sr. Mary Domenica Mazzarello often stopped the sisters and girls of the Institue in order to offer them refreshing water, but more, her maternal goodness. She did this in her characteristic way and at the opportune moment.
GO FORTH! “ At Mornese all wanted to be missionaries and many asked to be sent.” “ We wanted to build a kind of Mornese… but at times we had to struggle with poverty, with the language, with the suspicion of the people.” Mother Mazzarello would encourage us from afar: “ A little at a time and you will do much.”
THE SPIRIT OF MORNESE Great obedience, simplicity, faithfulness to the Holy Rule; Admirable meditation and silence; A spirit of prayer and of mortification, candour and innocence; Fraternal charity in conversation, joy and serene cheerfulness which seemed like a place in Paradaise. Only God and his love was thought of and was talked about, There was love for Mary, St. Joseph and the Guardian Angel, and work was always done under their sweet protection, as if they were actually present. There was no other aim. O how beautiful that life was!