The Salesian Cooperators of the Iberian Region on a pilgrimage to Annecy

Friday 19 August 2022
The Salesian Cooperators of the Iberian Region on a pilgrimage to Annecy

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Francis de Sales and the Strenna of 2022 ("Do everything for love, nothing by force"), a group of about 25 salesian cooperators of the Iberian Region, accompanied by other members of the Salesian Family (representatives of Salesian Dames, Past Pupils and ADMA), visited the places of the Patron Saint of the Salesian Family from 1 to 6 August, 2022.

This pilgrimage is part of the proposal of the Salesian Cooperators of the Iberian Region called "4x4 of your faith", which takes us on four pilgrimages every four years to significant places of our Christian and Salesian life (Pilgrimages to places associated with St. James, Annecy, Holy Land, Turin).

The journey, in the form of a pilgrimage, led us to the roots of the Salesian style represented by the Savoyard saint. The scheduled program took us to the most significant places of the saint (Annecy, Chambery, Geneva, Thonon ...), to retrace the different Salesian virtues that St. Francis de Sales left us as a legacy. The journey was accompanied by talks on the following themes: Christ, source of the Salesian spirit; Pastoral charity; Union with God; Love for the Church; Kindness and meekness; Family spirit; Optimistic humanism; Tireless activity; Creativity and flexibility; Love and trust in Mary; Your Holiness as a proposal for all.

Along with the moments of prayer and liturgical celebrations, there was enough time dedicated to sharing the reflections of the day, daily before the Good Night talks. On August 5, we joined Rev. Sr. Carmen San Miguel (FMA) in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Institute, as well as thanking her and all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians for their wonderful service. At Thonon we were also lucky enough to meet Anne Marie, the coordinator of the local Salesian Cooperators unit, who accompanied us for part of the day.

Just after four years after the last World Congress of the Association of Salesian Cooperators, four years after the celebration of the 150th anniversary of our foundation and in the midst of the process of renewal of the World Council, this journey has allowed us to reflect on the need to go on a pilgrimage to our Salesian roots in our daily life. It has been done in a spirit of synodality, together with our brothers of the Association, with the rest of the Salesian family and the rest of the Church. Our trip to Annecy has faithfully symbolized all this.

We also understand our associative life as a constant pilgrimage that leads us to ensure that all of the programs and activities of the Association are born and are impregnated with our Salesian roots. Walking as lay people, both in daily life and as an association, we pass through sometimes difficult and complex paths. But, knowing that we are accompanied by the Lord,  just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and helping the people around us to discover Christ on our journey, we fulfil our vocation.

In short, the example of St. Francis de Sales invites us to be men and women of our time, giving bold answers to the complex situations that our historical context offers us. He also invites us to go on pilgrimage in our daily lives, privileging love of neighbour, kindness and meekness over rigor and normativism.

Borja Pèrez


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