Matilde and Myself come from the same Parish – says Gabriella. I liked her lifestyle and her enthusiasm for the mission that she knew to communicate even during the sales in the markets.

She saw me participating in the various initiatives in the parish. One day she proposed to me to take one more step. To tell you the truth that the mission has always fascinated me. I knew well the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate because I used to participate in the evening prayers at
Via Masaccio once in a month on Mondays. For me it was an event not to be missed. I savored the taste of missionary prayer and to “live” the missionary testimonies of the Sisters. Together with the Friends of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate, I began to participate in the distance
doption project, but no one had ever spoken to me about the MS Lay Associates. Matilde was my “Contact person”.

I was frequenting the parish, but I couldn’t find a group to identify myself with. My work and above all my great timidity were real obstacles. Instead, I felt welcomed from the beginning and above all I found my way in the MSI Lay Associates Community in which to journey. Thus I began to take my first steps in the missionary world. I used to frequent the sister’s house almost every week at Via Masaccio with the dental office that offered a service for the Sisters who had returned from the missions or in preparation to leave for the missions. Even the celebrations of professions, the missionary mandate, along with many other events of the Congregation had become the way to experience happiness and learn to live the same missionary passion.

I had the joy of arriving in the mission of Guinea Bissau almost one and half year ago. My timidity often made me feel inadequate for everything. The same hospitality which I experienced in Italy I could also experience here in Guinea Bissau. This made me to feel at home. There was also Cinzia with me who had been participating in the MSI Lay Associates meetings for about two years. It is
entirely another experience of speaking about the mission, touching it with hand and walking in the land of mission. Like Job I too can say today: “Now my eyes can see you …”. Yes, I see and
greet all the Africans whomever I meet in the street. Now, my lifestyle got adjusted to Guinea Bissau. I thank God for my 70 years of age. In Guinea Bissau there are very few persons who can
reach this age. It is really true that we can never say that we are not useful for the mission; it is always the mission that changes us.

Today I am grateful to the Lord for the friendship, joy and integration that characterize our MSI Lay Associates, as well as our gatherings with the MSI Lay Associates of South Italy with whom we have our moments of formation and sharing together. I am happy that I joined in the MSI Lay Associates. I expect a great renewal, thanks also to the new members who joined and with whom we are growing into a true dialogue and an open confrontation. I hope that our relationships may be strengthened and bear fruit in us and around us.

Graziella Colombo, MSI Lay Associates of Milan

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