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In a time of darkness, I choose life

In recent months, Don Stefano has put me in touch with Elisa Cavallaro, a young woman who wants to give a new direction to her life. We spoke several times on the phone. I don’t know her personally because she lives in Vicenza. We accompany her with prayer. I asked her to write something about her story and she shares her experience with this article.

Sr Maria dellaNatività

Elisa Cavallaro

Our time is now undergoing a total change. With the words of Pope Francis, we can say that we are in a time that is changing and that we do not know where it is leading us.

We live in a time of violence in all its aspects: corruption, crime, poverty, material and spiritual thirst and global pollution.

In Europe, the Church and family are also going through difficult times.

These divisions brought me to discouragement and fear of the future. I shared this with my friends. One of them invited me to a meeting she was attending, called: “Listening to the Word Centre”, here in Vicenza.

At first I felt like refusing but in order not to offend her, I accepted.

There I met a priest, Don Stefano, who helped us to reflect and pray on passages from the Word of God.

This encounter with the Word awakened in my heart a great desire to get to know it even more.

This is how I have participated in other meetings. The Word has revealed to me that I am loved by the Lord, that He has projects of love for me and that He desires my fulfilment.

I discovered that my engineering degree was not only there to please my parents or myself, but that the Lord asked me to put my skills at the service of the poor and the most disadvantaged.

Then in 2018, I did a year of international volunteering in Venezuela, where I found myself in contact with the reality of great poverty.

A small community of Sisters lived there with the people; they were filled with joy. The older one struck me in a special way. She was mischievous, loved to tease, and despite her age and being with the poor, she had not lost her youthful candour.

When I returned home, in Vicenza, one question kept coming back to my heart: “These Sisters chose to be missionaries for a life-time and I, only for a year?”

I met with Don Stephano seeking help in finding an answer. After several meetings, he asked me out of the blue: “Elisa, are you thinking about what you are going to do with your life?”

His question left me speechless.  But in my heart, a spontaneous prayer found its way: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

In this period of Covid-19, confined to my home, I had more time to reflect and to pray the Word.

The Word made me understand that fear and doubt are present in whichever choices are to be made in life.
In a telephone conversation, Don Stefano invited me to a deeper reflection on some verses of the Gospel and the Psalms, which I did.  I also volunteered with the Red Cross, and offered help to the elderly in my residence.

In May, when I was able to meet Don Stefano, I again expressed my decision to enter religious life, as I had told him by telephone. I desire to love and serve like those Sisters whom I saw in Venezuela giving their lives to the Lord and to the poor.

For the last few months, Don Stefano spoke to me of a religious congregation in the service of the poor: the Daughters of Wisdom. They are not present in my town. I was given a telephone number and I contacted Sr Maria. We get along well and I came to know the Founders a little more, Saint Louis-Marie of Montfort, and Mother Marie-Louise of Jesus. I also visited the Congregation’s web site and found many of their missions throughout the world.

As soon as possible, I will get to meet Sister Maria. Just lately I found work in an office.

What struck me most from the life of Montfort is: “Open to Jesus Christ”. This is exactly what I also want most: to open my heart to the Lord and to my brothers.