Here Ciro Ambrosino and Nunzia Scamardella are sharing their mission experience.. They are married almost 50 years. In these long journey of their life together, the Lord has given them the gift of communion that can be described in two words: SERVICE and MISSION. They are from Pozzuoli (Naples). It is rare for any MSI Lay Associate or missionary sister or the youth of PIME if they have not experienced their hospitality, availability and especially their delicious cuisine! But let’s go through their history from the beginning as MSI Lay Associates: it was in the year 90s!
Ciro and Nunzia, you tell us that your experience as MSI Lay Associates wasn’t born suddenly, but was born step by step, from a missionary sensibility towards the territory. Can you explain to us what do you mean with these words?
TOGETHER: “There were so many Missionary experiences and Services that has preceded us and prepared us to actualize the journey of Lay Associates. Thanks to another young couple from Pozzuoli (Gennaro and Rita Lucignano). We came to know Sr. Giannina Monti and sr. Gabriella Ravanelli the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate. At that moment they just came back from the mission of Brazil and they arrived in Pozzuoli to do the missionary animation. Together with them, we invented and carried out some initiatives for the missionary month of October especially for the youth in Trentola-Ducenta with the help of PIME fathers in which our sons too participated in it. During those years we lived beautiful and unforgettable experiences: the school camps with the Missionary Youth Movement, the journey to Assisi… Always giving a helping hand to serve or to cook for everyone”!
Was these experience useful for you as a couple? Would you like to tell us something about it?
Ciro: “Yes, it was. Nunzia had been always involved in the Church activities but I can’t say the same for me. I was only engaged with my work and with football not with the church activities. Nunzia tried to convince me for a long time to have an interest for the voluntary service, that may characterise together as a couple for a common choice. But, I never found a mutual feeling with my sensibility for the experiences she proposed to me. Only when I saw for the first time the missionary style and their open mindedness I felt a type of harmony with my life prospective. It was the mission that conquered me and gave me the sense of firmness that really convinced me. And since then the mission has become for me a service and commitment that we live together”.
Nunzia: “Ever since I was a child, the missionary perspective has always been part of my life, almost like a plan of God. In fact, when I was small, I used to go for an embroidery sewing which was taught by a lady who explained and spoke about the mission. Especially all the things that we sewed on Thursdays were for the missionaries. She told me that “the missionaries go to Africa, Nunzia do not worry, one day I’ll let you to know them”. At the end of the embroidery sewing, she gave us the magazine of THY KINGDOM COME, and it was in that moment that I discovered that the missionaries she was speaking precisely were about the PIME missionaries! As in a book already written, I realized that my life was linked to PIME since my childhood! ”
Let’s start from the beginning of MSI Lay Associates in Pozzuoli: what do you remember about the first years?
“The journey of MSI Lay Associates was a journey defined its self over the time its motivations and objectives. It was defined progressively thanks to a group of persons with whom we can say that “we grew up together” as missionaries and as a community. Deepening the charism of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate we had the opportunity to know the missions, missionaries and cultivate in us the missionary passion for the missions.
There are so many tangible experiences of missionary apostolate that accompanied our formative journey of these twenty years. Together with the sisters and with Fr. Sandro Schiattarella, PIME, for example, we started the BCC (Basic Christian Community) for the sharing of the Gospel in the houses. It is an experience that continues till today with sr. Eletta Nava. We followed the meeting of vocational journey in Trentola-Ducenta and from 2004 we give a helping hand in cooking during the summer camp street animation in Italy. For many years we spent our holidays with PIME. We felt tired but happy, full of joy, of energy and full of young people! Little by little our MSI Lay Associate journey was more and more structured. Thanks also to some of the missionary experiences, such as missionary apostolate in Isernia with Mons. Visco, where we knew and put into practice more the charism. From here it followed a greater involvement in the journey of the Institute, a growth in the participation of the journey with the other Lay Associates in the world “.
How do you see your missionary choice today?
“I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything”(EG 27). These words of Pope Francis from the Evangelii Gaudium expresses very well our point of view. We desire a missionary choice that transforms really the entire life starting from the concreteness and the acceptance of the other. The values of charity, of working for everyone, of loving the others, taking risk etc. remain just beautiful words if our lifestyle and our actions do not go in this direction, starting from being in solidarity with those in need, with those who pass by every day “.
The MSI charism, which you have known and experienced more and more in these years. What are the points in which you find yourself the most? Which ones still inspire you today?
What we like the most is our sense of belonging to the community of the MSI Lay Associates is the life style: simplicity, poverty, flexibility, the choice to face the things without any rigid schemes and without complaints, the joy and the capacity to smile. Together with the Missionaries we feel as one apostolic body; we feel “Church”, without distances or barriers, we feel like one of them, thanks to a simple and sincere welcome. The missionary charism involves us to know the life of many missionaries about whom we read in the magazine ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ who have passed by our house, as our guests, and with them we shared the missionary ideals that we have.
In our life we had always desired to leave for the mission, to see Africa, but we see that the Lord has chosen for us a mission here in Pozzuoli: a house open to everybody, to all the countries of the world, this is God’s plan for us. In this life style we see in Mother Igilda’s phrase that is becoming more and more concrete in our daily life, a life entirely projected to the mission, moved by that ‘fire that never stops burning’, which leads us to serve always others, and extent our help to others”.
What do you foresee for the future of the MSI Lay Associates? What would you wish?
As Lay Associates missionaries we see that in the place we live there is so much to do. It would be nice to be able to propose ourselves more as a group, to build more activities together, beyond the numerous activities we carry out as individuals or as small groups. In this way, we could bring the testimony of our spirituality “of going out”.
This is what we encountered, the possibility of experiencing so many voluntary services and activities, which we carry out thanks to the missionary charism, with a thrust, with a fervent missionary passion that unifies the entire life and reanimates every day. … This is what we dream for the MSI Lay Associates!
Ciro Ambrosino and Nunzia Scamardella, MSI Lay Associates of Pozzuoli – Italy.