Castel Gandolfo (Italy). Taking inspiration from the words of the prophet Joel, “Your old people will dream, your young people will see visions” (John 2:28), on 1 November 2023, the Feast of All Saints, the Community of the International Novitiate of Mary Help of Christians of Castel Gandolfo, Rome, welcomed a large part of Blessed Maria Romero Community of Rome Cinecittà, St. John Bosco Province (IRO), for a day of fraternity.

The initiative came from the Animator of the Community of the elderly Sisters, Sister Lucia Zarini, who was immediately welcomed with joy by the Formator, Sister Luisa Menozzi, and by the entire Novitiate Community. Some Novices, equipped with minibuses and cars, went to pick up the elderly sisters who were already anxiously waiting for them at the entrance of the House.

Arriving at the Novitiate, the Sisters were welcomed into a festive atmosphere, with a moment of welcome and introductions organized by two Novices. The underlying theme of all the games was the difference between the Novitiate of the 60s/70s and that of today. It emerged that, although with some differences in environments, clothing, and customs, the essence of this life choice remains unchanged: to joyfully follow Christ to give oneself to the young people.

This was followed by a visit to the rooms and the outside of the Novitiate House, from the garden to the terraces, up to the chapel for the celebration of Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Maurizio Verlezza, SDB, Director of the Salesian Community of Genzano, Rome. Fr. Maurizio, taking up the Gospel of the Beatitudes, invited us to live holiness by following the example of Jesus, who was the first to be poor in spirit, meek, humble of heart, merciful.

After lunch, the two communities enjoyed a moment of recreation playing “Sanbola”, the tombola of the Saints, interspersed with singing rehearsals and amusing anecdotes. The day spent together and the common desire for holiness were then entrusted to the hands of Mary with the prayer of the Holy Rosary, meditated with the help of some expressions of the Salesian Saints.

At the moment of farewell, everyone’s eyes shone with sincere joy and profound gratitude for the gift of enjoying once again the beauty of Salesian life, the strength of that dream Johnny Bosco had at Becchi two hundred years ago, which still awaits young people ready to “give it legs” on the streets of the world. Combined with gratitude to the Lord for so many Sisters who, with their lives full of experience and fidelity, are for the youngest those ‘next door’ Saints to whom they look to try to live “as if they saw the invisible”.



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