New Humanity Movement

Social Harmony and Art

suoraSister Angiola follows closely many difficult situations involving children in Italy and other parts of the world. Here she narrates how the abandonment of three Ethiopian children by their parents set in motion a city’s generosity.

by Sr. Angiola - Verona (Italia)

Some years ago I opted to live my vocation at the service of the poor children and the dropouts of my city. I find my work at school so enriching; I do my best to involve the students, their parents, the other teachers and also the auxiliary staff.

Some time ago, my superiors asked me to help several of our students’ families who were passing through a difficult period. In doing this ministry I received the full support of the other nuns of my community, delicately looking for solutions, that humanly speaking seem impossible to come up with.

Moreover since 1997 I have been in charge of 22 solidarity projects in Brazil, Angola, Ivory Coast and Argentina; thanks to them a lot of kids in tremendous situations have regained hope and their smiles. However even here in Italy there are quite a number of things to do.

On a cold February evening in 1998, an Ethiopian family (parents plus three children) called at our place. We were asked to enroll the two older children who had just arrived to join their family.  The family had already been there for some time in a desperate attempt to save the life of one of their children who was gravely sick with leukemia. Welcoming the two boys at school, I felt this was a unique opportunity, both for me and for my community, to become aware of the needs of many persons, and to try and solve them.

Therefore, even with the death of the sick child, with the help of many others,  we were able to be close to each member of the family 24 hours a day, getting into their mentality and traditions, in their way of expressing sorrow, providing them with clothes, shoes, food, and medicines, etc. After about a year this family achieved some serenity.

Few years went by, and then things started to fall apart once more: in 2002 one day the mother, who was pregnant again, said she wanted to visit her sister in the USA, and that she would be back in time for the birth of the baby. Six years have passed, and she has not yet returned. In the meantime the father was in psychological turmoil and, as a result, he lost his job, and went back to Ethiopia, abandoning his three children in a very difficult situation, both under the psychological and the practical point of view.

The children were the ones who needed the most help, and now their suffering was immense. They were unable to do was to fill the void of love and to forgive the parents for the abandonment and the rejection they suffered. Another difficulty about the situation was that the two minors were technically ‘illegal’ immigrants because their residence permit depended on that of their father. This was quite a heavy burden.

In my heart I heard the words that my Founder Pietro Leonardi used to say: “Be like a mother, or rather, more than a mother”.  Those words helped me find a solution to the problem of these two boys.

I found my way, long but safe. Through my various contacts I met with excellent lawyers and benevolent judges. With the help of social services we dealt with their predicament.

Even when they had to leave the apartment where they were living, amid a lot of difficulties, all the same we could find a new nice house, and they moved in a very short time, relying on the help of seven volunteers, with the joy of all of us.

I am ever more conscious that all this was possible because many persons shared the same vision: my community sisters, the professionals, the civil authorities and, above all, all those persons who share with me the ideal of universal brotherhood and strive to make it real.

Having God on our side, we forge ahead!

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