“At the beginning it was difficult, especially because of the diversity of languages,” said one of the couples who participated during the past year. “Over time, however, we learned to know each other and through living together here at the Loreto School, the relationships between us improved at the same time.”
The Loreto school is an ongoing educational project for families from many countries around the world. It takes place in Loppiano (Incisa Valdarno) at the international citadel of the Focolare. It’s aim is personal and family formation for the construction of a more just and supportive society. The course 2018 – 2019 , duration of 9 months, has seen the participation of 9 families from:Brazil, Cechia, Cuba, France, Honduras, Italy, Oceania and Siberia.
“It was a new and wonderful experience for our whole family.” Said a couple. In an atmosphere of reciprocity, the families learned to communicate and share moments of lessons, celebration and walks. “This gave us the opportunity to grow in humanity and spiritually, allowing us to overcome the challenges of daily life, due to the differences between us.”
Family units from different ethnic groups, cultures and religions attended lessons in pedagogy, psychology, ethics, spirituality, anthropology, for an all-round formation on the family. During their free time there were numerous recreational and sporting activities. The time devoted to work was also fruitful.
“One of the most important moments for us was to experience the concrete love of Mary and Mauritius who assisted us when I needed treatment in a hospital at the end of the school.” said one of the participants. “ I thought it would be a quick visit, but I had to stay ten hours in the hospital. When the treatment was completed, to my surprise I was transferred to another hospital. I was touched to see how Mary reassured me, telling me that everything was fine, worrying about nothing but my needs. I felt like I was part of one unique family.”
Another important experience was mutual collaboration, for example; “….when we welcomed some other families’ children into our home because their parents needed to go away. This moment gave us the opportunity to live the present more intensely as children do. It took us back back in time, and we remembered when our children were little and so we relived those special occasions of games, prayers and care, which had given us great joy.”
The couples offered help with the translations, which made them feel: “like in a family where everyone cares for the needs of the other, by always being LOVE”. For some, this experience meant “the reawakening of conjugal love. “After almost forty years of marriage, we felt the need to renew our relationship, now we no longer feel ‘an I’ and ‘a you’, but ‘an US’.
Ultimately for the families it has been an enrichment in all aspects of life, human
and spiritual.. “A gift received from God!. The school taught us to go out of ourselves to meet the other, to see Jesus as our teacher who guides us and helps us to begin to love again”
On their return home, the families are better prepared to make themselves available to their communities and can now contribute even more to the construction of a more fraternal world.