Teddy and Ketty are two of the women that are going to Rome on the 7th of March for the Audience with Pope Francis on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the birth of CL and the 10th anniversary of the death of Fr. Luigi Giussani.
We have asked them to tell us why they have decided to go to meet the Pope, what they are looking for by going there and also what kind of sacrifice is for them going to Rome in terms of money and work.
Teddy: “I want to share with you a bit of my experience. I want to tell you how was my life before I encountered a friend, that is Auntie Rose. She really changed my life and it is still changing. My parents died in 1992 when I was still young, I dropped out of school and the only thought that came to my mind was: ‘maybe if I get married, that will be the beginning of my happiness and I will finally enjoy life’. But even after I got married, life was not as I thought. I still needed something more, there was something lacking in me. There was nothing beautiful. Every day was a new day of sorrow, there was no happiness and yet I thought that someday I would be totally happy, but it wasn’t so. Not until I encountered Auntie Rose. Every day, after work, she went to community school. After some time I asked to Auntie: but what do you really do in community school? I also want to come and see what you people do there. She said to me: yes, you can come! She had never told me how beautiful it was.
The first time I went, I didn’t understand well, but still I wanted to hear more and more about the work of Father Giussani. He was still alive, he had not yet died. One day I picked the courage and I asked her: how did Father Giussani gather all these information so that he can really talk about people? I thought that he was directly talking about me. How can his speaking correspond also to what I have been throughout in my life? I had no one that showed me the right way to go through my life, not until, slowly by slowly, during the work of community school, I was educated and I became aware of myself, finding who I am.
Once I was attending a community school for youth and auntie Rose asked to us: Who am I? Who is man? From there I understood about the infinite desire of the heart and how the heart of men was created by God. For me, in general, throughout my life and from the time I met the movement, what really touched my life and the way that I live now is that I become aware of myself. My heart is educated, I learn about myself and so I am now free to live a happy life. Now I live knowing that I am a value and I look at everything as a value, I look at all the gifts, the gift of friendship, the gift of the husband that I had (my husband passed away last year). When it was announced the meeting with the Pope in Rome on the 7th of March, I was really touched because I just automatically said: I am going to meet God, because the Pope is God himself and so I am going to meet my Father. The work of community school has taught me a lot, it has changed my life: I look at things in a different way, not as I originally looked at them. With my experience, how my parents passed away, how I was left alone and how I was treated from my in-laws, I almost lost everything, but even in that I still remain happy because I know that all of this has happened for something greater. It is only Him who makes me exist, He is the only one who will continue to make me live, because He is the only one who knows me better than any other person. I am happy because of one thing: the greatest thing that I have in my life and in me is the gift of life and Christ that lives in me. I know that even in sadness He is here with me, accompanying me together with all my friends. First I thought that I was alone but after discovering myself, I was never the same, I have never been alone anymore. Without Christ and without the encounter with Him in my life, I would not be the one that I am. I am going to meet the Pope full of joy, I know that when I will meet him, I will come back different. I am going to be more and more aware of myself, my heart is going to be reawakened.
Finally, I want to say that money is nothing, I borrow them from the saving group. Tomorrow morning I am going to borrow some money to get the Visa and the day after I will proceed to the embassy. But I am not feeling any pain, I am not regretting anything because going to meet the Pope is about me, it is all about my life. I have made many sacrifices but I did them because I saw more value in going to meet the Pope because it concerns me and my life.
I pray the Holy Spirit to touch each and every person in the whole world, so that they can become aware of themselves, of their value and of their dignity. I think that if people could know that they are a value, the world will be at peace until the day in which we will meet our destiny. Thank you.”
Ketty: “The first time that I have met Rose she smiled at me and she showed me another life. That was the time I realized: ‘maybe I will be ok’. But what did she really do to me? She just asked me: ‘What is your name and where are you from?’ I feared everything because I was having a lot of smell and flies around me, but Auntie Rose and the women showed me that I am important, that I have a value. I have started to join them, to work with them hand to hand and then I also started to go to community school. The first time it was not ok because I didn’t understand well and I came back home and I stayed there for 3 weeks. But my heart was telling me to go back to community school. I went and I put my mind to learn. I learnt that if you want to know and learn something you have to be patient and also that the work of community school is good for me and for my life. Before meeting Rose, I was always thinking to what happened to me in the past, but since I joined community school I can live all my things in the present. My heart kept on moving. When I went for prayers and for Mass I saw people that were taking the body of Christ, so I asked myself: ‘Why can’t I take the body of Christ like them too? I wanted to be in the number of those who were taking the body of Christ. By the time I joined community school, they showed me that Catholic people welcome people. So I decided to be baptized. Last year on Easter I was baptized with my children and with other 15 people. I was very happy.
One day at Meeting Point in Kireka, Auntie Rose told us about the meeting with the Pope in Rome. Now I can say that money is nothing. When I will meet with the Pope it will be even better than meet my father. I look at the Pope as a big father. I was not expecting Rose to tell us anything that day, but when I heard it, I understood that money is nothing to me. Money is not my life, but the value that I am. Community school makes my heart moving ahead so I go to meet the Pope”.