Mornese is a tiny village in Piedmont, Italy. It is the birthplace of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello and the place where the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, founded in 1872 by St. John Bosco and St. Mary Domenica herself, had its origin.
St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, being the first Superior General of the Institute, led the community of Sisters and young people in living a life of holiness expressed in simplicity, in joy even amidst suffering and in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. This lifestyle evolved into a spirituality now known as the "Spirit of Mornese".
Inspired by this spirit, MORNESE CENTER OF SPIRITUALITY (Retreat House and Youth Development Center) was envisioned to answer the need for spiritual renewal and formation of individuals, couples, families, small groups and organizations.
The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (also known as Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco) offer MCS to young people as a priviledged place where they spend precious moments of stop-over-with-the-Lord and share life-giving experiences through guided and preached retreat, prayer centered on the Word of God, and other faith-enriching activities.
MCS is God's gift, a dream-come-true, for the FMA Philippine Province, built through the generous communion of resources of FMA communities, benefactors and friends, so that all "may have life in all its fullness" (Jn. 10:10).
THE BEGINNINGS OF MORNESE CENTER OF SPIRITUALITY
In July 2000, Mother Anna Maria Mattiussi, General Visiting Councilor and ex-Provincial Superior of the FMA Philippine Province, came to the Philippines to preach the Retreat of the Sisters. Sr. Celia Tacujan, the Provincial Superior then, told her that one of the needs of the Province is a quiet place where the Sisters, the young and our lay mission partners can go for rest, prayer, recollection and spiritual retreat. Mother Anna Maria was inspired to call Mr. Mario Ocampo-Mamon, her alumnus from Sta. Cecilia Catholic School in Canlubang, to request if the Mamon Family could donate a place for the said purpose.
In March 2001, ground breaking began and a few months later, the construction of the Mornese Center of Spirituality started under the supervision of our Sister Architect, Sr. Maria Arly Reyes, and Provincial Economer, Sr. Norma Roque.
The contractor was Engr. Reynaldo Kong, owner of RLK Construction, and a parent of our student in Mabalacat, Pampanga. The initial funds were the fruit of the solidarity of all the FMA communities who solicited from relatives, friends and benefactors (Mrs. Milagros How, Ms. Luz Morales and others) and raised funds through different means.
The construction took a long time due to the difficulty in laying the foundation because of irregular terrain. Aside from the difficult topography, the contractor had to fight against extortionists.
After two years, Phases 1 & 2 of the construction were completed with the help coming from the Mother House in Rome and our Japanese Sisters.
On March 19, 2002, the first big event held at the main chapel of Mornese was the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Mr. Mario & Mrs. Cynthia Mamon with many distinguished guests present. They had to walk uphill to reach the main chapel which was the only finished area where people can decently stay since the whole structure was still under construction. The intermittent rain prevented the continuous construction so the workers of RLK had to work double time for 24 hours the whole week before the event to have the main chapel ready for this occasion.
Mario is the eldest son of the late Captain Mamon and Mrs. Herminia Ocampo Mamon, donor of the property in Pansol where Mornese stands, while Cynthia, his wife is a dear friend of the Salesian Sisters. Both of them believe in the Salesian educational charism having all their four children as alumni of Mary Help of Christians School Canlubang.
The blessing of the Center was held on May 13, 2003 with Fr. Francis Gustillo, SDB Provincial Superior, officiating the Eucharistic celebration. The event was attended by the Sisters, benefactors, and friends.
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