I approached the MSI already at the time when Sr. Bianca was there. She used to visit us at home and so did the other sisters after her. I fell in love with those presences that testified to the passion for the mission. I am grateful to God for giving me the ability to be a missionary myself when I invited my daughter-in-law, a Jehovah’s Witness, to attend MSI meetings. It was a great joy for me to see her happy in following the missionaries and announce her free decision to break off the relationship with Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is a love story.
I found myself attending the missionaries of the Immaculate in a moment of suffering: it was God’s call! I can say that I feel like someone who went from kindergarten to university; I learned to pray and dedicate myself more to others. This journey has helped me grow and feel more confident and determined in my will to live the Gospel. It is wonderful to know that someone I have helped and meet regularly considers me a missionary! I like the thrust of MSI in living for others. They are a gift for others. My life as a lay MSI tends to use my time more and more for the people I meet, especially those who are in difficulty.
The Lord calls and I have heard it. When I was young, my family sent me to a teacher to learn the art of embroidery. Once a week we worked for the missions, a world unknown to me at the time but which intrigued me so much that I asked myself who the missionaries were. The teacher promised me that eventually she would take me to the office of PIME in Naples. However, with her death, this promise vanished. However, behold, to my great surprise, that after a few years, the missionaries themselves began to come to our parishes and communities and I had the great joy of hosting them in my home. In all this time of mutual attendance, the sisters helped us a lot and we all always felt welcome, which has not happened with other Institutes.
Giuditta di Meo
About 30 years ago, I was invited by Sr. Giannina and Sr. Gabriella to attend the C.E.B. (Basic Ecclesial Community) by being part of a small faith group. I organized my work in the family to have time to participate enthusiastically in the many initiatives that were proposed. Later I assiduously followed the path of the lay group who share the same missionary charism. I am attracted to the MSI sisters, particularly their openness in being present among the people to bear witness to God’s love for all. Learning from them, I always try to do the same myself. Just this morning I was in the market and I noticed an elderly woman in distress. I thought of helping her, even though I did not know her, and she thanked me very much. Well, I live on small but significant experiences every day. I think that this too is living the mission “ad intra”; a good atmosphere has also been created in the family.
I am among you because of my proximity to Sr. Giannina and Sr. Gabriella who introduced me to the knowledge of the Bible. I began to attend systematically since the arrival of Sr. Eletta. Here I have found a real family and I feel at ease because we all love each other.
I think someone sent me and I feel like the one sent. Nunzia told me about the missionaries and invited me to the monthly meetings. I too have found here a beautiful and healthy family dimension. I like the simple style of the sisters and giving to the others in poverty. I like this ability to give by being close. I share their charism and I find myself well in our history, which is a holy history. Together with Cristina I began to frequent this MSI house when Sr. Eletta came among us. Today with Sr. Chiara we animate the Caritas listening center of the Toiano district of Pozzuoli. I recognize the sin of laziness in myself because I am not diligent in inviting other people to attend our enriching meetings.
Why am I here among you? For the missionary charism of the foundresses. They really “conquered” me. They give me the strength to approach those in difficulty. My missionary zeal is somewhat held back by the fact that I cannot talk to anyone I approach to support him. (We unanimously remind Tonino that the witness of every Christian gesture of proximity to brothers and sisters in difficulty is valid and precious equally like the many words).
If I think about my spiritual journey, I have to highlight three essential points, accompanied by one word: “curiosity”. The beginning brings to mind a memory from 1995. On the first anniversary of the death of don Peppe Diana (an extraordinary person whom, even though, I did not have the good fortune to meet), I approached some young people from the Catholic Action of the parish, while they were preparing the musical animation of the Mass in his suffrage and other related events. Driven precisely by curiosity, I began to frequent them for a few years and the experience aroused beautiful indelible memories in me, because it is here that I began to take my first steps. Subsequently, for personal reasons, I had a period of pause from the journey I had just undertaken, a pause characterized by one of my moments of fear, which lasted a few years, where I was always looking for something that would help me understand what I really wanted to do both in life and for my journey of faith. In fact, only a few years later, in 2012, I met the PIME missionary fathers of Trentola – Ducenta and in particular, following a meeting conducted by Father Enrico Fidanza (another special person who, for a series of reasons I did not have the opportunity to know him well) of “Youth and Mission”, I decided to follow them. Finally, this journey in stages, in 2020, led me to meet the MSI sisters and I understood that I had landed in yet another right port. All of this has helped me to be very determined to implement the gospel of Christ in my daily life. When I come here to Pozzuoli, I find myself in a missionary project that I really need. With the MSI sisters and lay people, my brothers and sisters, I manage to be simple, feeling the need for their simple words and hoping to be able to speak to everyone with the same simplicity.
I found myself attending the Missionary sisters of the Immaculate at a time when I had drown closer to the faith and to my parish. There I met Sr. Giannina and Sr. Gabriella who did missionary animation in the neighborhood. At their invitation, I began to attend the monthly meetings in Pozzuoli. I was very interested in the experiences shared by many sisters who returned from mission lands. I was finally discovering the true Church, which bends down to help those in difficulty, without any ambitions for power. It does not impose its cultural model and acts in full humility. It was precisely this I needed to discover, beyond so many clichés, which, often rightly, show the ugly face of an ecclesial structure threatened internally by the evil of corruption and vanity. Many years have passed, we have changed, myself included. Today I can count on a more mature vision of faith, which pays attention to the essential and finds its centrality in the Word, which frees man from the slavery induced by other men, building a bridge between Heaven and Earth, between love for God and love for men. In all this, I recognize that missionary activity goes in the right direction, the one that, placing oneself at their side in complete humility, brings words of liberation to all the brothers and sisters, helping them to feel loved by the Lord. I do not have an in-depth knowledge of other missionary congregations, but this does not bother me: the good Lord chose the MSI sisters for me and that is fine. I specially appreciate in them that real sense of democracy that shuns any temptation of elevation and power and characterized by joyful and free service to all.
I landed in Pozzuoli while I found myself experiencing a profound crisis in the parish; I had even been removed from it! I felt offended and confused at the same time. With the help of Sr. Giannina and Sr. Graziella, I was able to forgive those who had hurt me. The readings we did together of the documents of the Church on the role of the laity were important. In particular, the lay dimension in the mission surprised me. Relations with the sisters and other lay people who followed the same path were immediately characterized by great mutual affection. The “vibrations” that I felt then (and still today) about the story of Mother Igilda and Mother Dones were very strong. I discovered new eyes to look at the world as a horizon and humanity as a family. The world has suddenly expanded and in these 25 years, my heart has expanded. The view can range beyond the narrow confines of the parishes and overcome the transience of contingent events. As a deacon, I am bound to obedience, but this does not always lead to positive results. I feel in the right place even if sometimes I feel a certain tiredness. However, the joy for me in assuming missionary commitments is always great and, in this sense, the service rendered to the Community of Rome has abundantly repaid me. I know other missionary Congregations, in particular the Corsaro Eucharistic Sisters, whose motto is “Thy Eucharistic Kingdom come”. I like the non-structural life of the sisters. I share and feel very much the simplicity of their way of being both among themselves and in relation to the outside world.
Lay MsI – Pozzuoli