See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers (Isaiah 43:19).

Calabria, South of Italy, here starts “a new beginning”, a new presence for the Province of Italy. A new presence that was desired by many and incomprehensible for others, yet, sprouted in an unexpected way and gradually it took place and became a reality. On 29th November Sr. Antonia Dal Mas and I left Milan. We crossed over almost the whole of Italy, passing through Rome, Pozzuoli and then further down to Calabria, to Rossano Calabro. We were invited and welcomed by the archbishop Msgr. Giuseppe Satriano, to start a new MSI presence here.

To do what?

The archbishop’s request consisted three points:

  • To educate the parish communities of the Diocese to a missionary sensitivity;
  • To collaborate together with the Missionary Diocesan Centre and to be a part of it in order to mature in the various sectors of diocesan pastoral centre towards an authentic missionary sensitivity both ad intra and ad extra;
  • To concretise a spirituality-centre for the laity that is open to the themes of peace and globalization.

It is a project seemed like a gift from above from the beginning. It is an answer to the insistent question: “How can we be real missionaries here in Italy too? How can we collaborate with the Italian Church by placing at the disposition of our beautiful charism and our rich missionary experiences? ”.

Finally, here we are in Calabria almost two years of discernment and finding the sisters who will be available…

On 30th November, we were invited to bring the icon of the Transfiguration of Jesus during the Holy Mass in the cathedral for the official opening of the Pastoral visit. This image, together with a prayer and a beautiful lamp made of the red clay of Rossano and with the symbols of the Manuscript, will accompany the journey of the parish communities towards the pastoral visit with the theme: “Your joy be complete”.

As soon as we arrived, we began to know the reality that surrounds us, starting with the Franciscan monastery of Saint Mary of Grace which was assigned to us for residence, a construction that dates back to 1500, but which has undergone various renovations and has given accommodation to different types of communities.

On Sunday 15th December, we officially inaugurated our presence in the Archdiocese of Rossano Cariati, in the presence of Sr. Maria Antonia, our provincial superior.

The Archbishop, Mons. Giuseppe Satriano, together with Fr. Piero Frizzarin (chaplain of the convent) celebrated the Holy Mass, during which he asked Sr. Maria Antonia to explain the charism of our missionary family and to introduce two of us the to the community assembled for the occasion. Then, before the concluding prayer, he invited everyone to bless us and pray for us, with the gesture of laying hands. After the celebration, we continued the celebration in the hall enjoying the local sweets and food in an atmosphere of simple and fraternal sharing

Calabria is a region inserted between the mountains and the sea, a land rich in history, art and culture of thousand years with beautiful landscapes and natural views, welcoming all and generous people. We are taking the first steps, learning new words, different traditions and customs, discovering the beauty of our vocation … even in Italy.

On 26th December 2019, we attended the Holy Mass in the Cathedral. It is an important day for the Church of Rossano. They remember the events that took place in 1741 regarding the image of the Mary of Achiropita (= not painted by human hand) venerated here.

After the Eucharistic celebration, we went out in procession to the S. Stefano area, and return to the cathedral with the magnificent image of the Mary of Achiropita, with musical bands and the flags of the two Municipalities, between beautiful views of the sea and Rossano.

On 27thDecember, with Don Pino Straface we get to know the localities of Colagnati, a small river that flows through the hills of Rossano. We visited the chapel of S. Francis and the family of Onofrio and Antonella, with Michela and Maria, who offer us coffee and crustolo, a typical sweet.

Valeria and Angela also arrived, (two neighbours) and suddenly, I felt that as if I returned to the Amazonia. Then we visited the “street communities”, houses scattered here and there, many trees, the river or igarapè always present. Even there, the people gathered, as soon as they heard the sound of their father’s car.

Don Pino then took us to the street Russo to visit Chiarina, a kind old woman, a widow who offered us oranges and then gave us a box of products prepared by her with wine, oil and preserved vegetables. The generosity of the people here is really great!

Here … a little taste of this “new thing” that the Lord is doing with us … It is he who opens the way, that springs of new life… and this is the mission I like more!

Sr. Agnese Roveda, Italy Province


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