The testimony of Anna and Nicole who have carried out a project of alternation between school and work in the Institute of Sacra Famiglia (home for the differently abled), in Cesano Boscone.
The signs of God
I returned home treasuring within my heart a very special memory remembrance: a sick old lady who hears very little, but only with her ears, because with her heart and through her eyes and hands she hears, hears much. I was looking at her: she caressed my strong, warm hands with her weak, fragile hands; she had wide open eyes so that she may have the joy of being cuddled. At a particular moment she took in her hand my badge, with my name, the name of the school, the title – volunteer and my photo. With a pleasant curiosity she contemplated on that object hanging from my sweatskirt and, after having looked at me for a second, continued to concentrate on the photo.
“How beautiful it is”, she said. It was a simple, ordinary phrase, pronounced in a low and humble tone, but for me that short phrase seemed to be a long one, because it echoed within me with strong emotions.
In her voice and in her eyes there was the wonder of a child in front of a gift or a marvel of a sunset that is especially intense. The beauty that she saw in that photo was not a simple affirmation, rather it was an emotional one. It was “ how beutiful it is” of God who he sees each one in his or her entirety and beauty, and sees in him or her a potential good…. She had looked with the eyes of Jesus.
Light within the pain
Cesano was for me joy, spontaneity, freedom and innocence. From the first time in which I set foot in it, it has become for me a ‘hearth’ of joy. As a consequence it is strange to reflect on pain that is veiled behind this joy, because it is not seen, but it is there: sickness. What is special is that, in spite of pain, it is not disappointment that prevails. It does not mean that each of these persons do not experience a wound, but on the contrary, I am convinced that, majority of them are aware of their own difficulty: a true joy cannot come from not knowing pain. Nevertheless it is as if this pain has been transformed into light. It is a pain that strips itself naked before God, that makes one ready to go to meet Him. This is the only way to pray truly: to be naked, fearful and needy in everyway and entrust oneself as children.
Often the innmates of “Sacra Famiglia” are called affectionately guys although they have grey hair. They are not children, but are like children and, which is very different. The virtue is more than innocence. Thus joy is much more than light heartedness, because it can pass through pain and come out strengthened and purified. It is a wound transformed into light.
I find the words of Pope Francis very significant:
… They offer us a profound teaching, because through them you encounter Jesus. The poor evangelise us, they evangelise us always, they communicate to us the wisdom of God in a mysterious way.
We are called to do simple and concrete gestures to be with them…
The present world has an urgent need for such a testimony… the human person is often rejected as useless because he or she is no more productive; God, on the contrary, always recognises in them the dignigty and nobility of a BELOVED SON