Italy has been struck particularly hard by the Coronavirus pandemic and is experiencing one of its greatest trials since the Second World War. But the Italians face it with countless gestures of solidarity, fraternity and tenderness.
I.V., a nurse in the positive patients’ ward for Covid-19, writes to us from the province of Naples: “At the beginning I was afraid of contagion and so I did my nursing duties very quickly. When a patient asked me for a coffee at the machine, at first I told him I couldn’t go. But then,by involving a colleague, we found two coffee machines for all the patients”.
Having to stay at home changed the life of Salvo and Enza’s family and their children Emanuele and Marco in Viareggio. Enza tells us: “Until a few days ago, the children, busy with many commitments, could barely stop and say a quick hello to their sick and bedridden grandmother. Now they even try to help me by just giving her a glass of water. At lunch and dinner we have more time to talk and also to laugh”.
In Lucca, Paolo and Daniela offered to do the shopping for all their neighbours even sharing some face masks . Still in Lucca are Rosa and Luigi, a young couple of teachers with two children, all at home at the moment; they lent their car to a family in severe financial trouble. In Sienna Giada and Francesca have made themselves available as babysitters for the children of nurses living near home in order to give them support. In Pisa Carla and Giacomo prepared food for some families near home while in Arezzo there was a solidarity race between Rosanna, Rita and Mario to sustain two people who cannot go out, through shopping and preparing meals.
In order to sustain her young colleagues away from home and forced into isolation, Barbara from Latina started to record videos in which she shared her recipes. They were so grateful because in this way she makes them feel at home, like family.
Emanuele and Simonetta from Sardinia with their three children have been in quarantine for two weeks. They write: “It immediately seemed to be an opportunity to build deep relationships as a family. Since we came into contact with the virus we have started sharing our experiences in a chat group with other people who are experiencing the same suffering. One day some of them needed food. Since we couldn’t do the shopping ourselves, we found another couple who immediately provided. We realized that we should never be blocked when a brother is in need.”
Ursuline from Sicily, a nurse,says: “In my work in the cardiology intensive care unit, I found myself with a young patient with a complicated heart condition. I saw fear and discouragement in her eyes, also because she could not benefit from the comfort of her family and small children. I felt that I should be her family. I helped her in her personal hygiene thinking about what I would have wished if I were in her place, making her bed very carefully, fixing her hair. The look in her eyes changed, we felt a great joy about being together, at that moment we were a family.
In Rome, Masha and Mario and their son Samuel are discovering that “this virus, as well as reminding us that we are all interconnected, is giving us the opportunity to appreciate small things, to put family and affection at the centre of our life, to give free rein to creativity against the frenetic programmes and rhythms we are used to. As a class representative Masha is looking for the best way to love families and teachers, keeping relationships alive through chat and phone calls.
As Jesús Morán, Co-President of the Focolare Movement, said a few days ago: “This is truly the moment of the wisdom (…) that leads to an intelligence of reality enlightened by love and that (…) it triggers a formidable movement of fraternity. Indeed God can do prodigious things, even in the midst of evil. He defeats it with his plan of love.”