Foundation and history
Don Bosco gave rise to the association of Mary Help of Christians, involving it, by way of duties available to ordinary folk, in the mission and spirituality of the Salesian Congregation.
'Don Bosco left the following in writing for its members: 'To foster worship of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary Help of Christians'.
In Don Bosco's dream as a 9 year old, the 'lady' pointed out who he would work for and what his mission would be, as we can read in the Biographical Memoirs.
From 9 June 1868, when the shrine to Mary Help of Christians was consecrated in Turin, the dream had come true and, once the 'house' was built, the pilgrims began to arrive. Theirs is the task of spreading the glory of the Help of Christians throughout the world.
The group had been brought into existence by 18 April 1869. Pope Pius XI raised ADMA to the status of 'archconfraternity' on 5 April 1870, and granted the faculty for associations of the same name and duties within the archdiocese of Turin to be joined to it. In 1877 this faculty was extended to all of Piedmont. In 1889 Pope Leo XIII authorised the association to be erected in all Salesian churches.
Five years later it was authorised in all Salesian houses.
Belonging to the Salesian Family and its extension through the world
Belonging to the Salesian Family and its extension through the world In a letter of 24 july 1989, the then Rector Major Fr Egidio Viganï¿½ recognised ADMA as belonging to the Salesian Family, especially because: 'it belongs to our origins and highlights the extraordinary importance of the Valdocco shrine'.
ADMAa is the second group officially founded by Don Bosco. Active membership is more than 35,000 and they live and work in more than 40 countries.
Duties of associates
The rule lists the following:
ï¿½ valuing, along with the Church, participation in liturgical life, especially the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation;
ï¿½ spreading a living devotion to Mary Help of Christians according to the spirit of Don Bosco, following renewal of the Salesian family;
ï¿½ renewing popular practices of piety such as, 24th of the month, rosary, benediction, novenas and the feast of Mary Help of Christians;
ï¿½ imitating Mary by seeing to a Christian and welcoming environment for the poorest amongst the young;
ï¿½ living every day in an evangelical spirit, especially thanking God, and being faithful to him including in the most difficult moments and moments of 'cross', like Mary did.
Duties as an association
We note the following:
ï¿½ working with the Salesians and Salesian Sisters, especially through the Salesian Youth Movement SYM.
ï¿½ fostering opportunities for catechetics and prayer amongst families in the same area, increasing the number of so-called 'domestic churches', bringing people together and nurturing the faith of ordinary people;
ï¿½ supporting the formatioin of Marian associations amongst the young.
Spirituality of ADMA
Following don bosco's teachings, the adma association offers a fully gospel-based spirituality to those who take part in its activities and initiatives. They are marked by the following features:
The association is for ordinary people. It has a simple organisational form without special formal practices. The basic point of ADMA is trhe local association, which brings members together in the daily matters which the rule speaks of, phelping members to live out their daily lives in a christian way.
One becomes a member through a personal, freely made request. This is 'formalised' through an occasion marked by Marian prayer and devotion. There is no requirement to pay a fee or hold a 'membership card' as such.
The single chief feature is the linking of local associations to the primary group in Turin. This reminder of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Valdocco becomes an ideal association with Don Bosco's overall project and his desire to do good to all, in whatever way possible.