Smile is the symbol that remains of the day we spent at the rest home of the sisters of Maria Bambina at Noci, a small centre in the countryside around Bari, where the elderly sisters spend their days reposing and praying. Together with the animators, we have committed ourselves to give back, as far as we can, the gift of service who for years have freely offered to the persons in need, becoming the salt that gives taste to the food. We were welcomed with a smile, even if the sisters did not know the kind of surprise we had for them. After a short reflection on the words of pope Francis regarding the importance of dreams, of having ambitious dreams so as to avoid retirement at the age of twenty, we started our job, to communicate joy. Each one of us had the duty to take care of one sister who, at the end of the day, became ‘his/her’ sister.

The answers we wished to have from them were: «Which are the impediments to have an outstanding life? What makes our life enjoyable?». Every sister talked about her vocation, her life, her service and her recipe for happiness and to become ‘bread’. The chef always has a secret
ingredient which he hides in every dish; in some dishes the taste is intense, in others not so much definite, but pleasant. In doing things it is necessary to put a spoon of beautiful and colourful dreams, a pinch of audacity and courage; however, to keep all together we need a handful of high quality love. At the end of the day to me, Gerardo, ‘my’ sister suggested to me to do things looking at the love that Jesus has poured upon us.

The sharing session and supper ended with a feast. We left each other with the hope of meeting again and the promise to remember each other in our prayers; for all of us the teaching and the image of the face of the sisters who, like grandmothers, talked about their own life as if
they were talking to their nephews, dispensing counsels, remains fresh in our hearts. The poet Friedrich Hölderlin states that old age is the time of tranquillity and prayer, but pope Francis added also, that it is also the time of giving to the youth the wisdom acquired along the years.