"These Encounters Opened a Door in My Heart"
Facing the challenge of infertility, Rosella starts meeting others who are living the "Miracle of Hospitality." Here is what happened.
After we’d been married for some time and were not having children, my husband said, “All this love that we have to give, where will it go at the end?” That question struck me so much and never left me. Some time passed, we moved to the United States, and one day Father José came to visit our community. I met him for the first time and told him about this aspect of my life, but, surprisingly, he did not say anything. Following that encounter, I started praying a novena to the Virgin Mary thinking, "I am going to pray this last time to have children."
We were later invited to a weekend in Washington, D.C., with Fr. José and other families from the United States that had welcomed adopted children or children with special needs, or simply had a desire for hospitality. Joining us for the gathering was a couple from Cometa, a community of five families in Italy who are involved in the experience of adoption, foster care, and education. We spent the weekend working on The Miracle of Hospitality by Father Giussani and hearing the witness of Marco and Elisabetta from Cometa. Marco and Elisabetta talked about their experience with adoption and foster care not as a solution to a problem, as I have always thought about adoption, but as a consequence of their communion with the other families living with them. They talked about accompanying children as much as they could and about the wound these kids have in their hearts that did not disappear.
After spending time with Marco and Elisabetta and the other families, my husband and I started considering adoption as a possibility for us. As we read Father Giussani, I also realized that we could live hospitality in many ways, even just by hosting someone coming through town for a night or inviting someone over for lunch. I understood why Father José did not tell me anything the first time we met. A discourse would not have changed me, but seeing these people living in such a desirable way changed my heart, pulverized my fears, and introduced in me the desire to live what they had.
A few months later, we spent another weekend in Minnesota with the same families. I remember that the first people I saw were Erin and Jason with their six kids. Their children are of different races and one has Trisomy 21. As they told their story in a witness, they shared that it was a story of how they trusted that God would not give them more than they could carry, to the point that they decided to be open to welcome anything, even a child with special needs. The focus of the second weekend was on the fact that we cannot love if we are not loved, we cannot be mothers and fathers if we don’t have a Father.
Since the beginning of this work, friendships were born, and these friends started accompanying me and supporting my desire to welcome and to love. This Thanksgiving we spent some days with Maria Chiara and Rick’s family, and I saw something that I have never seen in my life. They have their own kids, even one with special needs who is so loved by everyone, but they were also hosting me and my husband, two high school foreign exchange students from Europe, a young woman from Spain, and their friends with their children who were visiting. Their house was open to the world. I had never seen something like that before, but it was so corresponding that I started desiring the same.
All the friends involved in this work on hospitality live far away, but the unity with them is a miracle to me. My husband and I started looking more seriously into adoption and we are now trying to understand what the best option for us could be. I don’t know how it is going to end, but these encounters opened a door in my heart. I understand that my vocation is love. I want to keep knowing about the love God has for me and grow in my relationship with Him by adhering more and more to the proposal of the Movement and living these friendships that show me that I am preferred and that the greatness I desire is possible.
I noticed that this Love, this Life, then overflows to others, to people we meet at work or invite over to our house. I understood that I don’t have to become a hero, and that we can discern with realism what God asks of us. My situation and my desires became a possibility to share life with friends that remind me with their life that I am made to love, that I don’t have anything to fear, and that I can take risks in welcoming another. All this is possible because God is my Father, He will never give me more than what I can carry, and, as Father José told us the first day we met in Washington, He is giving me this particular situation to better understand what everybody, even people who have children, need to understand.
Rossella, State College, Pennsylvania