Bologna (Italy). On 21 October 2023, a meeting of VIDES volunteers from all over Italy took place at Mary Help of Christians House in Bologna, Our Lady of the Cenacle Province (ILS).

At the event desired, organized, and managed by them, there were more than 100 people present, including long-standing volunteers with their families, and young people with the desire to get involved, coming from Val d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy (Milan, Lecco), from Trieste, from Tuscany (Florence, Empoli), from Emilia Romagna (various locations), from Pesaro, from Rome…

During the day, each person was given the floor, in order to live and bear witness to this youth protagonism. It was also natural to share everything, including food, and feel that God was present there, making Himself felt through the testimonies and the joy of living. Even those who were unable to come tried to make themselves present through writing.

There was no shortage of formative moments, such as the round table with Massimo Peron and Luca Padova of the Baumhaus Cooperative, the requests of the territory and the Navile district on the outskirts of Bologna, and the presentation, “VIDES today: its identity and mission” by Sister Maria Grazia Caputo, FMA, Founder of VIDES, with the testimonies of the Volunteers present.

Among the testimonies were also those of some Daughters of Mary Help of Christians: Sister Anna Nizzola who with her Community warmly welcomed the participants; Sister Edi Chierici, Sister Loredana Corazza, Sister Rosa Securo, who over time lived and accompanied young people in missionary experiences.

As Sister Maria Grazia Caputo observes, the meeting was an intense and successful experience for everyone. “There was no need to do any evaluation, because expressions such as, ‘You have thawed my heart’ or ‘Thank goodness that I came’, were already an evaluation of the day. Thanks to the web page created by a young man, ‘We are always us’, we were able to collect a series of expressions that not only ‘thaw’ but also warm the heart.”

Here are some, in the certainty that they can be a gift for the reader, a light in this uncertain and difficult period:

Good morning, everyone! I wanted to thank you for the beautiful and meaningful day of Saturday 21 October. VIDES is alive in all of us… You know I have had many experiences of volunteering and conferences (from the first in Rocca di Papa), and with Sister Maria Grazia, organized many initiatives. I came from an oratory in Rome and she managed to give me unforgettable experiences. It’s beautiful to find all of you Friends and new people, who have had the same experiences as us and lived strong emotions. I was pleased to meet Sister Annamaria and Sister Rosa… thank you all!

Thank you all for a beautiful day yesterday, so full of emotions and memories. I felt like part of a family again or, perhaps, of a small population of people united by experiences that changed our lives and that continue to illuminate us every day.

A warm thank you to all the participants in this extraordinary day. An incredible wealth and recharging!

A beautiful day, wonderful to see each other again and be together! A special thank you to Sister Maria Grazia for her trust and for making us live unforgettable experiences that will remain in our hearts and in our way of life forever! VIDES? Home of emotions that every time you enter, fills you with joy.

The emotions the VIDES family gives are always unique.

Thank you for the gift that everyone was in the past and is today.

The video… a centrifuge of emotions!

An encounter that leaves the heart celebrating, full of joy and gratitude. Heartfelt thanks to each one, because you contagion with the joy of solidarity, friendship, love towards everyone… The world, society, need you. Thank you, Sister Maria Grazia, for making Don Bosco’s dream a reality, a dream of love towards everyone. Even if I don’t know you personally, I know you in the good you do. THANK YOU everyone! (Sister Leonor Salazar)

There is nothing to do, when you meet VIDES, it enters you and never comes out.

I was very pleased to hear everyone again and think back to those experiences! Even though after almost thirty years, we never stop thinking about them, in our depths they are always with us and they have certainly left a mark on us!

Certain values are never forgotten and being part of this group has allowed me to treasure the stupendous things we have shared!

Still dazed by the wave of positive energy that was released on this day… What a great little miracle you have performed, Sister Maria Grazia with this VIDES! Even our “girls” were positively impressed! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to understand how much wonder there is in the world and for welcoming us into your big family! We will always bring you with us in prayer!

The beautiful day made me reflect and think. I would like to return to being an active person in VIDES. Participate, organize, plan but also testify at formation meetings, or simply do. I’m here.


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