Covid won’t hold us back.  Love takes on the challenge of distance


Despite restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the Focolare community in Toronto remains close to a sick mother and her family

“I don’t feel alone on this journey, and it’s thanks to all of you who are my family!”. Susan lives in Toronto, Canada. She has five children and was diagnosed with advanced cancer about a year ago. Her journey has been a rocky one, with moments of progress and feelings of hope alternating with moments of trial when her health deteriorated.  But sharing her experience with the Focolare community, of which she has been a member for a long time, has helped to relieve the burden of her suffering and echo her joy.

Not even the restrictions imposed by the pandemic can stop them sharing this suffering.  It must be because love can overcome the most difficult obstacles.  The same is true for the fraternal relationships linking members of the community together.  From the Focolare in Toronto they said: “When Susan shared the situation with all of us, she told us she felt at peace and wanted to offer her suffering for everyone affected by the pandemic. We assured her of our personal prayers, and one of our families had the idea of meeting together on Zoom to pray the Rosary for her healing”. So since last March, members of the Toronto Focolare community have been meeting on Zoom every Sunday at 4pm: “We take turns praying one decade of the Rosary, and leave Susan and her family to pray the fifth decade”. It is such a strong moment of prayer that they feel the spiritual presence of Jesus among them, according to the Gospel which says “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:15-20). And through the intercession of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, they are asking for Susan to be healed.

“When we finish praying,” they continue, “Susan gives us an update on the treatment, and we all rejoice with her and Nino, her husband, if there has been progress and suffer with them in the difficult moments. She continues to tell us that she feels stronger spiritually and emotionally thanks to the spiritual presence of Jesus among us and that we are all carrying this suffering together!”

Love for this mother and her family is also being expressed in very concrete gestures. If the doctors prescribe rest and advise against cooking, then the community takes it in turns to prepare a meals for the family which is different every time. “It’s incredible”, they say, “with love, you can overcome every difficulty, even those caused by the virus with the lockdown. For Susan’s family, especially the young children, it is always a great joy to see what has arrived for dinner because every time, from our multicultural community, there is a dish from a different world cuisine. This experience with its many acts of love has made us grow as a community”.

It is this feeling of family that is giving Susan courage, and it is from this love for Susan that the community is rediscovering itself as a family every day.

Claudia Di Lorenzi

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