I have decided to put a bunch of facts that I have discovered about the Salesians in one post. The ones that are here are all ones that have appeared randomly throughout my blogging, so you may have seen them before. Enjoy!
In the USA, this religious order I am looking at is commonly known as the Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco. More formally, they are called the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, FMA.
FMA is the Italian name for the sisters. It stands for Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice (Daughters of Mary Help of Christians) which was the name Don Bosco wanted for his Religious. In English speaking countries, they are referred to as Salesian Sisters.
The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA, aka Salesian Sisters) are the largest female religious order in the world. They are approximately 14,430, the next order of women down is 9,693! You can find these and more statistics in the Catholic Almanac 2010 on page 487.
“SALESIAN” – The title was chosen by St. John Bosco because of the esteem he had for St. Frances de Sales, and his desire that his Sisters, Priests, and Brothers imitate the kind and gentle ways of this saint.
St. Mary Mazzarello (1837-1881) worked with St. John Bosco (also known as Don Bosco) and found the Salesian Sisters in 1872.
The formal name for the Salesian Sisters is Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. This title for the Blessed Mother dates to 1571 and Pope Pius V. Don Bosco believed, “Our Lady wants us to honor Her under the title Mary, Help of Christians. Times are so bad that we need Our Lady to help us to be faithful and defend our faith.”
There are four years of formation for the Salesian sisters that one must go through before taking first vows. The following definitions are taken from Merriam-Webster. The first year is Aspirancy. An aspirant is “one who aspires.” The second year is Postulancy. A postulant is “a person admitted to a religious order as a probationary candidate for membership.” The third and forth years are the novitiate. A novice is “a person admitted to probationary membership in a religious community.”
“F.M.A.” Our official initials represent our official title in Latin: FILIAE MARIAE AUXILIATRICE. This translates to, DAUGHTERS OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS, the formal name of the Salesian Sisters.
The Salesian Sisters in the United States belong to two provinces, the East and the West. I would belong to the Eastern Province, known as St. Philip the Apostle Province.
The mission of the Salesian Sisters, Priests, and Brothers is to educate young people, especially the poor.
Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning. This is one of them: “Love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It is He who fires our soul with a love that compels others to Him.”
Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning. This is one of them: “Friendship with Mary under the special title of Help of Christians. As a woman, wife and mother, she understands the inner workings of the our own journey through life, as well as that of the people to whom we minister.”
Distinct characteristics of the Salesian spirituality are the three devotions that have been part of their prayers since the beginning. This is one of them: “Dedication to the Church, seen especially in the person of the Pope. Pope John Paul II, who himself attended a Salesian parish, and his great love for the young, bring to life Don Bosco’s words, “Young people must know you, love them.” “
On July 16, 1908, the first four missionary Salesian Sisters arrived in New York City. They settled in Paterson, NJ, to begin their ministry with the children of Italian immigrants.
When you type in “Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco” into a google search, you get about 15,300 hits.
I hope you found out some interesting things about the Salesian Sisters! Hopefully more facts will be found and added in random posts. Be sure to keep an eye out!