I am the last of six brothers and perhaps, for this reason, I was cared very much by my parents. My father had a great sense of protection for each of us. He had not studied, but he inspired us to grow in faith. In the evening we used to together to pray the rosary and sing songs. At the end of rosary, I used to read the Gospel and he used to explain to us. I never understood how he was always informed about the political situation of our place. Today, the people of my village look at our family as a model. Thanks to the teachings left by my father to us.

I remember as an adolescent I had the occasion to know our sisters who came to my village to teach catechism for children, meetings with young people, summer camps and the accompaniment of newly wedded mothers. The joy that they had transmitted in doing all these things fascinated me. The people liked their service because they spoke to everyone without differences. I liked very much to see them in dancing and dramatizing the parables of the Gospel. I used to participate without fail all the meetings. I saw around me many poor people of the village, aged or sick people and I had already imagined myself as a nun at the service of these people. I was only twelve years old and when I spoke about this with my parents they told me that I was too small to have a clear idea.

When I was sixteen years old I spoke several times to my parents but they discouraged me telling that I did not even have the idea of the life of the sisters, and they would never have accepted that I leave my country.

Vincent, my eldest brother, intervened telling that “Why not let her try?” My mother challenged me by saying: “Would you be able to leave me alone on the point of my death?” I replied: “Yes”. She burst into tears, but let me go, sure that I would return home soon.

In the beginning, to tell the truth, I found a lot of struggles not just in practical things. I had difficulty to learn English. I was very shy and used to speak little in public and less in sharing with others my thoughts. Even it was also difficult for me to live with other people different from my culture.

I was helped a lot by Sr. Elsy and then by Sr. Mary George. They used to tell me with great patience that the life I had chosen had its demands that I should not be afraid to make mistakes but always be willing to start again. Little by little my fears gave way to deep confidence in me that I didn’t even think that I had such confidence. Even I used to share the joy of my vocational journey and to speak about the Gospel. It is a real achievement for me.

In the year 2008, I became a nun. I studied for nurse and before I could complete the studies I received the destination to Africa. An immense joy invaded me that day because Africa had been always a long-cherished dream.

At present, as the new mission is getting closer I feel a lot of fear. In this short period of my stay in Italy, I had many experiences living in international communities. I think I have acquired the ability to recognize and accept cultural differences. I am sure that this will prepare me even better to live in Guinea Bissau where … the words of Msgr. Balconi reminds me … “I want to be Italian with the Italians, Guinean with the Guineans”.


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