Fiorella: “Right from the start I found that Andrea was an atheist and very popular with the girls. I decided in my heart that it was better to let him go. But then in the disco I always found myself in his arms.”
Andrea: “Fiorella was really one of the many. Before telling her – to my own great surprise – that I might actually love her, two years went by.”
Fiorella: “I was aware that the relationship wasn’t going anywhere. There wasn’t dialogue and we didn’t make any plans. I had become Andrea’s shadow, without personanlity or dreams. Disappointed I decided to leave him. To evade him, I changed jobs and moved to another city, but I soon began to feel alone and full of sadness. One morning, nearly desperate, I found myself in the doorway of a small church, yelling out why to that God whom I had left for some time. When I job contract ended, I returned home to my relatives. A few days later, a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while couldn’t wait to talk to me about God, and invited me to a several-day gathering with people who were trying to live the Gospel. As I stepped into the hall I was struck by a sign they had hung: “God is Love”. I wondered how God could love someone like me with my heavy make-up, heels size 12 and fiery red hair. But right from the first day I felt his presence, I knew that I had discovered what I was always looking for, and I ran to pour out all my miseries in the confessional with the intention of beginning to live the Gospel. After that first “Mariapolis” the Eucharist became the vital force of my life.”
Andrea:”Fiorella was changed. Now she talked, but what’s worse – at least from my point of view back then – she talked about God. Trying to be tollerant, I decided not to dump her, but I was jealous of this God who was stealing her from me. I was struck by her serenity, her enjoyment of life, her renewed love for me that filled my heart. And what if she really loved me? Surprised at myself I even reached the point of asking her to marry me, even with the understanding of doing it in church. Afterwards, an accident at work left me immobile. The only diversion was visiting those families that Fiorella began to get together with. As soon as I could, I decided to visit one of them to find out the reason for this interest in me. We talked about everything, even the faith until three o’clock in the morning. I was fascinated. “These people are serious about it!” I said to myself, I want to live like them too. I want to be the first to love too.” One Saturday I found the sink filled with dishes. Fiorella was out at work. I closed the blinds so my neighbors couldn’t see me and began to wash the dishes to show her my love in a concrete way. I even tried to iron, although it took me two hours to press one shirt. And as I did all this I began to notice a certainty blossoming inside me: God exists, God is Love. With this new faith I suddenly felt the need to pray. I told Fiorella and suggested we do it together. With a bit of embarrassment and the lights turned off, each of us on our own side of the bed, that night we prayed together for the first time.”
Fiorella: “After twelve years of milestones and setbacks new beginnings and many joys because of the new love that was growing between us, and with the birth of our two children, Maria Giovanna and Ivan, we received an invitation to move to Honduras to help support the nascent Focolare community. Jesus was asking our family to follow Him, giving up our house, our job, our relatives. A totally unknown world was awaiting us in Tegucigalpa with different customs, language and culture, along with the difficult life of the Honduran people who were knocking at our door each day. We entered so deeply into “making ourselves one” and being immersed in their lives in a deep experience of inculturation. The fruits of evangelization were many: vocations, marriages convalidated, families put together again, people coming back to God and the growth of brotherhood. After eight years we left behind a community that had been built piece by piece, based on concrete love that we tried to show and drew in our children into who, in the meantime, had become three.
Andrea: “In fact, our on Juan Diego was born while we were in Honduras. We named him in honour of the Virgin of Guadalupe to whom we continue to entrust the so generous people that changed our life.”