To defend human life in its condition of fragility: That’s what animates the Hospital Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the family of Sr. Mariella Giannini, a religious who lives the spirituality of the Focolare Movement and the protagonist of this story.”Through meeting the charism of unity of Chiara Lubich,” she relates, ” I was able to reconstruct my identity as a religious in the charism of hospitality of my Institute.”
Philippines, Spain, Italy are the stopping places she has touched on her journey. The discovery that God loves us immensely, strongly impacts her. Nevertheless a time of trial soon arose, the kind that one would gladly avoid, especially after having chosen to give one’s life with commitment.
“It was a strong moral suffering,” Sr Mariella goes on to say, “a moment of trial, perhaps also of temptation. Certainly it was a struggle with God. The darkness came suddenly. Night came over me together with the silence of a deep, black sea, as if I were crossing a murky river. Where will I end up, I asked. I don’t have a future.”
With emotion she remembers that difficult time and confesses that, even in the darkness, she never stopped giving herself to others. “In an unexpected way I heard the cry of Jesus on the Cross. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? He who ironically is unanswered, was the key to my suffering and to that of every human suffering.”
A delicate passage was resolved not so much with will power but with a trusting abandonment to God.
“Within every religious family,” Sr Mariella continues, “it is inevitable that there are problems, because selfishness is never fully eradicated. But certain things inside of one change. I experienced it especially with our lay partners whom I no longer saw as strangers or just employees, but our brothers and sisters with whom to share the charism and to embrace new projects together. Moreover God also gave me a new family with the Focolare Movement. My heart was enlarged. The charism of hospitality and the charism of unity have become for me a unique strength, a dynamite that renews the house of God, the Church.”
She speaks knowledgeably because the duties she performed were different and delicate, not only as provincial superior, but also around the world. “Love always calls Love,” she confirms with conviction. “I was able to see and experience it because after the office of provincial in Italy for my Institute I was sent as a formation director to the junior sisters in the Philippines.The first formation is delicate, charming and engaging. With daily listening and mutual dialogue we come to an understanding. When I welcome the life of the other in a heart to heart relationship, then I become the recipient for all suffering, past and present. To live like this lets me overcome all barriers of language, culture and generation. ”
From the Philippines she went to Spain to prepare the young sisters for perpetual vows. Since her return to Italy in Viterbo she is working with a group of mentally ill persons, alcoholics and people with behavioral disorders. She regularly visits incarcerated persons in the city’s maximum security prison.”Jesus grants much joy to these least of all people because He is the first who chose to be the least. When these two poles, “God and man” meet, in a mysterious way the relationship is illuminated and hearts are warmed.”