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Thursday, December 6, 2012
When faced with an illness you can either decide to accept it and try to understand the signs along the path that your are called to take, or you can try to dodge the problem and not even want to hear about it. Marisa and Francis chose the first path.

This testimony was shared on 25 November 2012 during the “Common pathways for the family” gathering that involved Muslim and Christian families from Northern Italy.

Marisa: “I intended to go back to work as soon as the children (1 and 3 years old) were old enough. But then my mother, a very sweet and active 60 year old came down with Alzheimer’s. Very soon she was no longer self-sufficient. We decided with my father to care for her at home without knowing what we were going to encounter. My husband, Francesco never hesitated either. But right from the start the implications of the disease began to test our relationiship and the equilibrium of the whole family.”

Francesco: “As a boy I had to share my mother’s affection with her job and with my grandparents who were living with us. And so when I married Marisa it seemed logical to me that she would be all for me and would have smothered me with attention. But in reality I found myself with many problems that had to be faced. Then when I had to begin to care for the members of her family, our marriage went into crisis. I felt like running away and, seeing that my job required me to travel great distances to visit clients, I often slept outside the house, leaving Marisa with the burden of two families.”

Marisa: “It wasn’t easy for me to accept seeing such a great change in the person who was my anchor in life, to see that in some moments she didn’t recognize me anymore, and at times it was also an effort for me to recognize her. When my father’s mind and body began to fail, my relationship with Francesco also seemed to waver. I found support in the Gospel: “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (Jn. 1:12). But I had to continually overcome myself. Precisely during those days a couple we knew invited us to a day meeting organised by the Focolare. We were conquered by the love that we saw being lived and we embarked on a journey with other families who were engaged in living the spirituality of the Focolare.”

Francesco: “Suddenly I came down with a grave illness and was admitted to hospital. I was angry with the whole world! Then, these words of Chiara Lubich returned to my mind: “Our health (is) ‘being a family’ . . . Are there any among you that are suffering physically? . . . Suffer with them.” I tried to put this into practice with the person in the next bed, then with an old woman whom everyone seemed to ignore. . . Little by little I began to understand Marisa’s way of loving who, after the children and her mother to care for, always found the time to visit me two times a day. I found myself at peace with her and with my life. And from then on I shared every choice and decision with her, especially the ones that cost me the most. Now I was no longer frightened by the illness. I became peaceful. Six months later the illness disappeared.”

Marisa: “Now we feel that any illness is given to us so that we can grow as persons by growing in love. I loved my mother, but now I love her in a new way that gives new significance and dignity to each of my actions. And love heals. Even when she seemed to everyone to be nothing more than a vegetable, unable to be engaged, a more intensely loving gesture would brighten her eyes and show that she was more present than we thought. She would mutter words of ackowledgement, liberating tears that I would then share. And this gave me such strength and joy that no one will be able to erase it from my soul. So it was for ten years.”

Francesco: This undertaking has not prevented us from being open to others, offering hospitality, for example, to a sick relative, sharing her joys and suffering. We also open our home to family groups and engaged couples for formation meetings.For three years we’ve had Marisa’s 98 year old father with us in our house. At times we almost have the idea of finding another solution for him so that we can have some autonomy. But we know that he would suffer much if we did this and we’re convinced that his life and dignity are what’s most important”.

(500)Rules

Marilen

Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 19:23

Grazie tanto di quest’esperienza che mi prepara ad andare all’ospedale ora, per trovare una nostra volontaria che sta vivendo sue ultime ore. Non sapevo cosa fare aparte di pregare con lei, per assicurare che siamo con Lei. Queste parole di Chiara su come essere famiglia, soffrire con chi soffre che mi hai ricordato mi danno piu` chiarezza su come essere li, amare solo, facendomi uno con lei, vivere questo passagio insieme.
Buon Natale.

    Marilen

    Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 22:54

    Va bene.

Maria Patrizia

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 21:09

GRAZIE PER LA VOSTRA TESTIMONIANZA!!! DIECI ANNI FA PRESI LA STESSA DECISIONE NEL SEGUIRE MAMMA COLPITA DA UNA PATOLOGIA MOLTO GRAVE CHE LA PORTO’ ALLA PARALISI COMPLETA. DECISI DI SEGUIRLA A CASA… IO, DA SOLA… MIO PADRE MORI’ DI DOLORE (3 MESI DOPO L’INIZIO DELLA MALATTIA DI MAMMA). TUTTI MI CONSIDERARONO PAZZA…PERCHE’ GIOVANE, INESPERTA, DECISA A CONGELARE, PER UN EMERGENZA PRIORITARIA, IL LAVORO E TUTTO IL RESTO DELLA MIA VITA… NON E’ STATO FACILE, MA SONO RIUSCITA A SEGUIRLA FINO ALLA FINE…ATTRAVERSO L’AMORE…LA PERSEVERANZA…LA PREGHIERA…LA FEDE…LA SPERANZA…RINGRAZIO LO SPIRITO SANTO PER AVERMI DATO LA FORZA DI RIMANERE SOTTO LA CROCE: GESU’ ABBANDONATO…E’ IMMENSO DOLORE… MA POI SI GUARDA TUTTO CON OCCHI NUOVI E NULLA FA PIU’ PAURA PERCHE’ SAI CHE L’AMORE E’ FORTE…E’ LUI IL SOFFIO VITALE CHE MUOVE OGNI COSA ATTRAVERSO CHI SI SFORZA OGNI GIORNO AD ESSERE AMORE…PER RENDERE MIGLIORE QUESTO “PICCOLO” MONDO… SOSPESO NELL’INFINITO.

UN ABBRACCIO!!!
M. Patrizia dalla Valle Santa

Marta y Ofelia

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 03:01

Queridos Francesco y Marisa. Su experiencia nos alientan para continuar ya que también pasamos por momentos difíciles. Yo, Martha tengo en casa a mi papá de 83 años y mi cuñado tiene 67 años, y mi esposo tiene 65. El que está más enfermito es el de 67 años, Antonio, está paralizado y hay que hacerle todo.Hay que hacer de todo… mi esposo se le hace dificil con su hermano, se desespera…en estos días le escribimos a Emmaús y recibimos su respuesta y esto significó darnos cuenta lo importante que es estar unidos con el focolar, con la Obra que nos hace dar cuenta del valor del sufrimiento,cuando lo entregamos al Señor y cuánto uno se alivia sabiendo que no estamos solos y el escuchar lo que ustedes estan viviendo, que es fuerte, yo siento que lo que estoy viviendo es menos fuerte que el de ustedes. Esto nos da más paz, tranquilidad y también caemos en cuenta que importancia tiene estar en unidad con la Obra de Chiara, el dolor se hace menos fuerte, encontramos consuelo sabiendo que el sufrimiento tiene valor y purifica. ¡ Gracias por compartir su experiencia. Yo soy Ofelia y les agradezco mucho. Ayudo en la Obra en esta Comunidad de donde Marta les ha comunicado su agradecimiento. También el mío. Cuenten con nuestra oraciones. somos de Valencia, Venezuela, Sud-américa.

maria pia

Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 15:45

Carissimi Marisa e Francesco,

grazie per il vostro dono. Anch’io ho mia mamma ammalata del
morbo di Alzheimer ed é sempre un conventirsi quando lei non sa
chi sono: tante volte mi dico: “ma sono sua figlia e non mi rico-
nosce” ma poi c’é solo amore e quando arriva un sorriso per me
é veramente il centuplo.
Ecco sì, soffriamo con chi soffre certe che il Suo Amore coprirà tutte le nostre mancanza.

Un cordialissimo saluti e un grande abbraccio a tutti voi.
Maria Pia, volontaria dalla Svizzera

Rosy

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 16:51

Es que la revolución del amor cuando llega a las raíces de la familia y sus relaciones, transforma todo. Todo lo que humanamente es dificultosa y doloroso, ahora es una oportunidad de amar, de ser feliz en el servicio completo. Se mira como Dios teje y engrana. La paz irradia y podemos sobrellevar lo imposible. Gracias Francesco y Marissa.