During these summer months in the Southern Hemisphere the number of families at Mariapolis Lia has grown. Ten families have come to join the others who have been living at the Permanent Mariapolis for more than ten years. They come from Peru, Chile, Paraguay and Argentina to share an experience of unity among parents and children. Now there are 50 more “citizens” ranging in age between and fifty. And they have enriched life at the Mariapolis with their different ages and cultural backgrounds.
Their goal is to “immerse themselves” in community life with its chores, moments for prayer and feasting and, at the same time, to reflect, dialogue and share experiences about issues related to family life. This is a school of life for deepening the meaning of matrimony, seeing it with the tools offered by the culture of unity.
Their program also includes moments of reflection on the basic points, aspects and instruments of the spirituality of unity, and how they can be applied in the daily life of a family. Much space has been dedicated to dialogue and communion as couples and as a group.
In order to re-evaluate life from this perspective the schedule is flexible. Each family plans its own day: household chores, shopping, preparing meals, helping out with the various tasks at the Mariapolis Lia and time for relaxation. It is also up to each family to find ways to cultivate friendly relationships with other families, through spontaneous gatherings, birthday and anniversary celebrations, sharing customs, folklore and traditional cooking – all in view of becoming a true “family of families”.
The children gather according to age, in groups where they have the opportunity for games, projects and experiences that they can then share with their parents when they return home. One young wife told how she was able to “change the basic coordinates” in order to live the ideal of unity with her husband.
Seventeen year old Alejandra from Peru: “Today I have a special desire to grow as a family, but I know that I’m not alone on this path because I’m with my parents, my brother and with all the other families at this course. And I know that near or far, in Peru, Chile, Paraguay or Argentina, there are others who have the same goal, perhaps we make mistakes and begin again, but we always believe in love.” Jorge from Chile affirms: “We seem to be like a puzzle in God’s hands, that He has disassembled and put back together with all of His love.”
We take away with us a wealth of experiences, some that we lived here and others that we’ll be living in the days ahead” says Gustavo from Argentina. And nine year old Nicolas: “I really like this place in the midst of nature, and it’s perfect for bicycling. I met new friends from different countries, I discovered new cultures and new things like the story of Chiara Luce who knew how to begin again and was able to see Heaven, and I would also like to see Heaven.”