“Ever since she was very young, Sandra showed a great openness towards others. We, her parents, had taught her to act so, but one day when she asked if we could welcome one of her friends into our home we were a bit taken aback. Her friend was going through some problems in her life.
But Sandra was so strongly determined that we couldn’t say no to her request. So it was that we decided to put our prejudgements aside and welcome her friend as our own daughter. Little by little, as the girl felt our love, she began to reveal some of the problems in her family. She stayed with us a few days and then, as she was leaving, thanked us very much. In reality it was we who were grateful to our daughter for having given us the opportunity to open our hearts and to create such a deep relationship with her friend. Later, along with our daughter she helped to organize projects for the victims of earthquakes, gathering a large collection of clothing, toys and Easter eggs.
One day we were all surprised by our son, Massimo, when he opened the door of our home to a poor man and his young son. Massimo ran to his bedroom and returned with a small model car, his favourite, which he gave to the child. When he grew older Massimo seemed to distance himself from us, to be indifferent to what we said to him, intolerant of our willingness to help others. We knew as parents that this was no time to assail him with sermons but we were sure that God would continue to show him the correct path. Last year, as he was about to board a plane that would take him to another country for his studies, he handed us a letter for his friends. He told us we could also read it. It was his way of revealing the treasures in his soul, that we weren’t able to see. It was such an unexpected gift and it filled the void in our hearts.
We had always tried to transmit to our children a sense of openness towards everyone. This was how the story with Joe began. The doorbell rang. When we opened the door, we were met by a young Nigerian man who wanted to sell us some household goods. Like many of his countrymen, he supported himself as a travelling salesman. We bought a few things, a kitchen mop, a small kitchen tool. But its seemed little. We invited him inside, we exchanged telephone numbers and promised to invite him to one of our gatherings in the parish.
As the day of the gathering drew near, we remembered Joe. We were doubtful as we telephoned, but he answered with enthusiasm saying: ‘Everyone is polite at first, but then they immediately forget you.’ From then on a strong bond of friendship was formed between us. We shared in his difficulties and helped him to find a job, which wasn’t easy due to his immigration status. We found him a place to live and helped him in many things. Joe then married and had a son. When he asked us to be the godparents of the little one, we were deeply moved as we considered the long and profound friendship that had been formed between us, one of the many friendships that were born by opening the door of our home.”
(Maria Luisa and Giovanni, Italy)