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Living the life of the Institute of the Infant Jesus Sisters (2/3)

Over the next few weeks, we invite you to discover our missions through a series of three testimonies, one from one of our Japanese sisters, who testifies to her life at the age of 90, and the other two from two lay people who are close to our mission. A good read!


2 - The life of our Institute: in Italy (part 2)

Rosanna, a faithful lay friend, close to our community in Calabria, has been collaborating with us for years. She co-directs a school support programme that she started several years ago to accompany young people in difficulty. She tells us:

It has always been a great desire of mine to be able to realise the teachings of Blessed Nicolas Barré by setting up an after-school life education programme for the neediest children.

This opportunity came to us years ago, around 2015, from an idea of Sister Caterina Dolci who was working in a facility for migrants. The women, in order to learn Italian, went to school in the afternoons but had nowhere to leave their little ones. So we started by looking after children of non-school age. They were joined by three or four little brothers and sisters who went to school.... and from there our wonderful adventure began. With Sister Marina Mugerli, the following year, we structured a real after-school programme.

The parish made some classrooms available to us so that we could look after the children. By word of mouth from the mothers, we had more and more children every day.

The essential thing was to have created a friendly and trusting relationship with the mothers. We periodically visit the families in their homes, spend some time together and talk about many things: these are moments of fraternity. During the lockdown period when we could not meet physically, we kept in touch via mobile phone and weekly a volunteer brought them food.

Today the after-school programme has more than 20 children who are happy and glad to come: in front of the parish there is always a cheerful chatter of voices mixing Italian and Arabic.

The most gratifying thing? When the little girls hug you and say: "Teacher I love you very much!!!"It is in the simplicity of small everyday things that we have realised a beautiful project that, to us lay missionaries, makes us feel close to the first young ladies who followed Nicolas Barré in his educational project aimed at the least and the little ones.

"Jesus Christ said that whoever receives a child, in His name, receives Himself. And, as He has said elsewhere, what one does to one of the smallest, the poorest and the most despised, one does to Himself. It follows that whoever receives a poor and abandoned child doubly receives Jesus Christ in His own person." (St.R.2)

This quote from Nicolas Barré is one of the phrases that has impressed me most and that often guides me in the choices I make in my daily life as a mother and grandmother”.


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