Austria/1: Visit to the Mariapolis Centre and little town of the Focolare

On the 50th anniversary of the Focolare Movement in Austria, Maria Voce, the president, meets the local community and visits the centres of the Movement. It is the place of some of the pioneers.

The program for the 15th May included a visit to the Mariapolis Centre Seminarzentrum Am Spiegeln and the Focolare little town called “Giosi“, both of them in the whereabouts of the Schonbrunn, a summer residence of the Ausburgs, in the south of Vienna.

As it is very near the capital, the Mariapolis Centre is a meeting place for all the members of the Movement. It is also the preferred place for conferences and congresses, and not less as a place for holidays and tourism. “A privileged route for the new evangelisation to which the Church calls us this year” is how Maria Voce defined this modern structure immersed in greenery.

In the afternoon, they visited the citadel named after Giosi Guella, one of the first focolarine: around a hundred inhabitants live there permanently (families, a community of priests, men and women focolarini and young people), amongst whom Gerda and Hans Schwinger. These last two are more than seventy years old, but always young in spirit. They transferred to the little town to participate actively in its construction. They left behind them their house and habits, to start a new adventure as real pioneers. They told us about it during an evening feast dedicated to the presentation of the life that is lived there and to the outreach carried out from it.

“While preparing to transfer ourselves,” they told us, “we realised that we had accumulated many things over the years. Now we had to choose which to keep and which to donate, as in the new apartment there was not enough space for all these things. It was not easy to really detach ourselves from these things (we thought that on a spiritual level we always had this detachment) and this required that we find a solution each time together. But this had the effect of giving us a new freedom. Now we have been citizens of the Mariapolis Giosi for three years, and from the very beginning we felt at home. This life of sharing, that involves us in diverse activities and moments, is a continuous growth. We often take in persons who pass by for a short time. We are also in contact with some couples who are attracted by our style of life. We wish to donate our time, most of all, towards building authentic personal relationships.”

by our correspondent Oreste Paliotti   

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