“No one in my family knew the Focolare, and I remember that the only reason why I attended the weekly Saturday appointments where we delved into the life of the Gospel was that I felt loved without conditions. I was born and raised in Ascoli Piceno, in the Marche region of Italy. Every year I attended religious education classes for young people, which established me on my faith journey. When I was 19 I had to face knee surgery that resulted in several complications. While I was still in hospital the doctors told me that I’d no longer be able to play volleyball and that I wouldn’t have the full use of my leg. Right then, I understood what it meant to say that ‘God is the ideal that never crumbles’ and I firmly decided for God. If I couldn’t play any kind of sport anymore, God would certainly find something else for me to do.
After high school I began university, but went back every Saturday to help out at the parish, setting up games for teens and young people. Even though I couldn’t play, I found out how much fun it can be to help others play, getting them to perform some feats that were truly acrobatic!
Throughout those years I became aware of God’s powerful call in my heart, to to spend my whole life for Him in others. At the 2007 Mariapolis, after receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, I felt in my heart what my path in life might be: to bring the charism of unity into my diocese. It was an absolute decision for God in favour of something quite precise.
This plunge in God led me to live life to the full, in the fullness of joy, and it allowed me to face a situation that on the human level I would never have been able to face. In 2010, I began to have new problems with my leg that had been through surgery, then the other leg, my back, and, in a matter of few months it was an effort for me to walk and stand on my feet. The doctors couldn’t come up with an explanations and since I was close to finishing my diploma, they hypothesized that it was some sort of nervous condition or form of depression.
In my heart I continued to feel a joy that came from living the same ideal together with my friends in the Focolare and couldn’t understand what was going on. One night, I escaped to a church and prayed in front of Eucharistic Jesus: “If it enters into your will for me to begin these medical treatments, give me a sign. If, instead, I have some sort of strange ailment, let me know, because I would like to go on being a gift for the others.”
That very treatment revealed a rare genetic illness that was causing all the problems I was experiencing and that continues to cause the chronic pain that I constantly live with. At first my mind was invaded by questions and despair. How would I be able to live for others? I realized that God’s Love didn’t change in front of the pain, perhaps I understood it in a different way, but His love always remained immense, endless. What should I do then? What could I do? I would carry on loving and building unity with everyone around me, even if it required more effort now, even if I felt like I’d rather be left alone. A few months later I was asked to take on a group of small boys. I wondered: will I be able to do it? I put aside my fears and decided to place myself at the service of others. Today, I have to say that over these years, the kids in that group were my strength and courage. Because, by loving, you can overcome anything. So many times I felt like I wouldn’t be physically able to hold up, but I did. I saw for myself that ‘Nothing is impossible for God’.”