“Grandi cose ha fatto Il Signore per noi. Ha fatto germogliare fiori tra le rocce”
“The Lord has done great things for us.
God has made flowers blossom among the rocks.”
I have always loved this song; it has been a source of inspiration and renewal of my faith in the power of God. In these last years I have really experienced how God worked “little miracles” through my illness. During my stay in hospital in Paris, in the bed beside me there was a lady, unmarried, 77 years old, living alone. She had been in hospital for two months before me and had the same kind of cancer that I had. I could see that she was going through a difficult time, having to go often to another hospital for tests and consultations with doctors, etc.
One day she sat beside me and burst out crying : she had had enough of life, she could no longer live, saying that the idea of suicide was strong in her mind because everything had gone wrong in her life. I embraced her, tried to console her and promised all my and the Community’s prayer, explaining to her “the power of praying together”. In a short time, we became great friends helping each other and praying together; we promised that we would ask for the grace of healing for each other and that we would eventually have a great celebration of our healing. She wanted to make a good Confession and had Holy Communion with me when the Chaplain came to us.
It just happened that we had our major surgery in the same week and afterwards, found ourselves having chemotherapy on the same days. She had been able to make peace with her two sisters who became very helpful to her. Finally, we had our GREAT CELEBRATION OF THANKSGIVING in our Chapel followed by supper with the Community. It was a wonderful experience and she stayed close to me whenever I was back to hospital for treatments and now she is still in touch with me, remembering me as the one who “saved her life”, and saying that our friendship is the best gift God gave her.
God has made flowers blossom among the rocks
During my last year in Paris, I often had to go to A and E for treatment, so although I was not able to keep a catechism group, I was able to keep up the “École de la Prière” (School of Prayer). Every Friday I would to the playground with my big bell to invite the children to come to Chapel to pray. A good number of children were happy to leave the game and come joyfully to our Chapel. As they were very disciplined, it was easy for me to teach them how to pray either with the Rosary or exposing the Blessed Sacrament and staying in Adoration… It was amazing to see how children (6-10 years old) were eager to learn, eager to pray for various intentions and happy for this moment of contemplation of the Lord. The Headteacher of Notre Dame de France school often expressed gratitude for this apostolate; the parents themselves shared their great appreciation for the way the children were able to make the family pray!
The Lord has done great things for us
Last year, in July, just back in Turin, after eight years in Paris, I had another major surgery. During the summer I was able to recuperate and in October when I felt well enough to work in the Parish, I was given a group of 14-year olds to prepare for Confirmation. I found the group “deprived” in the sense that they did not seem to have been well prepared in previous years. Despite all my endeavours, we met only a few times because of Covid 19. The Celebration of Confirmation was postponed to 7 November.
In October, for the second time Covid stopped us having meetings. So I did my best to keep contact with the group through internet trying to make these young girls and boys feel loved, cared for and followed up; a strong uncertainty reigned about the possibility of going ahead with Confirmation. In spite of all this, on Saturday 7 November this group of youngsters had a beautiful celebration of Confirmation. They had been following all my written suggestions and prayers especially prepared for each day during the previous nine days and so seemed very well disposed. No-one had been struck by Covid and the celebration, as well as the weather, was simply BEAUTIFUL!