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sfv 01Loppiano: sisters belonging to 13 diffrent institutions and congregations, coming from Burundi, Cameroum, Kenya, Equador and from various Italian cities

 

sfv 05Loppiano: the Holy Door

sfv 04Loppiano: into the Sanctuary Maria Theotokos

sfv 02Consecrated who participated in the Formation School in Loppiano

After six years on the wonderful island of Sicily, a period of time spent at our Mission in the Philippines, I was given the gift of a period of rest and rejuvenation during the month of August. Grateful for the gift of this experience -- and grateful for the experience itself -- I wanted to dedicate some time to looking back on, and making sense of, the past six years in light of the love of God. Thus, I would return from my break with new drive and energy.

God took care of my heart

The word of God that accompanied me was: “do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5) -- these words Mary said to the servants at the wedding in Cana. I felt strongly that the first thing I should do was to listen and see what Jesus thought of my life and the people who are a part of it: the water of purification turned into wine at the celebration. I had never realized that the water brought to Jesus was water intended for purification, the special water used to cleanse, and to remove anything that is superfluous. I heard Jesus' invitation to open my heart to the novelty of ‘good wine’ and celebration that transforms everything that is useful and good, even what might appear to be superfluous...my water, my life in His hands becomes wine for everybody's celebration.
God took care of my desire for relationships and knowledge.
I spent a few days in the community of Padua, sharing in the simple joy of spending time together with my Sisters and our Associates. I spent a week in Assisi, where I learned more about the Gospel according to Mark. I was surrounded by love. I felt loved and supported and ever more closely accompanied on my inner journey. Spending time at prayer in places of Franciscan spirituality was a great gift. I shared with God my desire to embrace the leper inside and outside of me… and the special grace that I received was confirmation that I was not alone: Saint Frances, Saint Clare, and Saint Antonio are with me.

God took care of my wounds

I spent the last two weeks of August in Loppiano, at the citadel of the Focolare Movement. It was wonderful to live alongside Sisters from other religious congregations: our days were spent in prayer, meditation, work, and the simple sharing of stories and experiences. I also took part in a training course on the connection between our Charism in this special year of an extraordinary Jubilee. And, indeed, the visit to Loppiano ended with a celebration of the Jubilee. We went through the Holy Door together with priests from the Movement into the Sanctuary dedicated to Mary inside the citadel. It was a very profound moment. I felt the Mercy of God embracing my life, my story in its various shades of light and shadow, and the story of the men and women of our time. Hear that the Love of God welcomes everybody in their entirety made a great impression on me. Nothing is to be discarded...even shadows become light, strength and life!    

sfv 03Philippines: Srs Armida, Barbara, Francesca A., Francesca V. and ThalytaIt was a month full of sights, sharing, and hugs.  It is all imprinted in my mind and on my heart. Christ the Risen, like a new spring has begun to flourish inside of me, giving me the courage to say a new, even louder "yes." Everything has become a gift for me and for the sisters and brothers I will meet.

A special thanks to my Sisters, in particular the Sisters from Leadership, who accompanied me in this time of special thanks with care and discretion. I was able to experience all this in part because of they welcomed me and embraced me with love.
And here I am, ready to begin a new adventure, I have already left for our mission in the Philippines where I will spend six months!!! Many people reached out to me with messages, emails, phone calls, gifts of many different kinds.  And I thank all these brothers and sisters from the bottom of my heart for the care and kindness they have shown me and for their support for our mission.

Sr Francesca Vitulano, SFP

Published October 21, 2016