Shrine dedicated to mark centenary of arrival of Salesian Sisters in Northeast
Salesian Sisters

Guwahati: The Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco of Guwahati Province inaugurated the centenary celebration of their arrival in Northeast India with a shrine dedicated to St. Mary Domnica Mazzarello, their co-founder at St. Mary’s Convent here on December 8, 2022. 

Leading the inaugural function, Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati said, “I join with you to thank God for his blessings upon you. I congratulate you for your presence and for the 100 years of selfless service to Northeast India in so many ways.”

Six pioneers from Italy, Sisters Innocenza Vallino – the leader of the group, Giulia Berra, Maria Bricarello, Clotilde Appiano, Antonietta Rosetti and Cecilia Da Roit, from Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco, who are formally known as the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), arrived in Guwahati on December 8, 1923, and began their educational mission in a dilapidated cottage in the premises of Don Bosco, Pan Bazar, Guwahati.  

Acknowledging the contribution of the sisters to the region, the Archbishop said, “Your presence here has not been without difficulties. Financial constraints, rampant epidemic, dire poverty, inclement weather condition, dearth of personnel, you have seen it all and have come a long way.”

To mark this historical event, the sisters raised a new chapel to the status of a shrine and dedicated it to St. Mary Domnica Mazzerllo, who founded the congregation together with St. Don Bosco on August 5, 1872. “It is significant to note that the part of the chapel is sponsored by our past pupils who are doctors now,” said Provincial Sister, Alphonsa Kurisingal FMA.  

Declaring the chapel a shrine in a concelebrated solemn Holy Mass, the Archbishop said, “May we prayerfully honour this place and may it bring people closer to God.”  

The superior sisters from their 38 centres across Northeast India sang a melodious hymn of gratitude and their novice sisters presented a play on St. Mary Mazzarello at the felicitation ceremony.  

Apart from the education ministry, the sisters are rendering their valuable service in the holistic formation of youth, women and children with evening schools for neighbourhood and domestic workers, coaching centres, vocational training centres, oratories and youth centres, neighbourhood children’s parliament, hostel and boarding houses, rehabilitation centres for drug addicts and HIV patients, homes for street children, literacy programme centres, computer centres, family and prison ministry, village apostolate, pastoral service, self-help groups, environmental care and networking across the region.  

Expressing joy over the celebration, Sister Monica Sana FMA working in the Namphai mission in Arunachal Pradesh said, “Thousands of students who have passed through the portals of our institutions stand tall in society today. It is a testimony to our contribution and we thank God for it.” 

Together with Shillong province, there are 617 FMA sisters working in Northeast India and 54 are in training to make their first vows as members.  

“The inauguration of the centenary year is a propitious occasion for every Salesian Sister to continue to live her identity as an educator of young people with renewed enthusiasm after the Heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd for the realization of God’s plan and the dream of our founders Sts. Don Bosco and Mary Mazzarello,” said Sister Lydia Komuhra FMA. 

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