10 May 2019
A sister for a friend
Sister Patrizia's eyes shine brightly. They are testimony to an intelligence difficult to contain. She was in Hong Kong for eighteen years, she even learned Mandarin, and she's got a heavenly sense of humour that shows itself in jokes, sarcasm and outbursts of laughter. She is a graduate, it is not well known how many languages she knows, she has directed for thirteen years the VOICA, the Canossian voluntary association, sent thousands of volunteers around the world and now for ten years she is with Maristella in Togo and for over five years in Amakpapé, a village of twelve thousand people. Here, together, they have built a new missionary centre with a church that looks like a cathedral in the desert, a school made of concrete and bricks, houses for abandoned women, a first aid clinic, a hospitality centre with running water for volunteers who come and go, photovoltaic panels and a protective concrete angel dressed in pink - even if I thought angels dresses in blue? - positioned in front of the school entrance. If you let her, she could talk about Afro-Catholic kitsch for hours. But these are just some small details. With her look, Sister Patrizia can hit hard. How else would she be able to manage the site? To check that no one is skiving, to pay out wages, to keep account of all, to just keep the show going. On the other hand, her gaze can caress your heart, because its sweetness is as transparent as the water of the flowing stream. Forget the glossy pages dedicated to career women, complete with Gucci suits and Prada bag. Sister Patrizia drives with crumpled Crocs, with which the tractor also drives us. She wears socks rolled around her ankles. But the most beautiful thing about her is her white veil on his head to contain hair now grey. And the tone of her voice smells like pineapple, sour and sugary depending on the instance. She is small, but not minute, median body, long ball and pedalling, the captain's armband is hers, there's no question about that. Sister Patrizia is a friend and our Foundation has been working with her for a long time and from her we have learned a prayer that goes more or less like this:
Don't stay fixed on your stories and your defeats, but take care of the land, the city.
Whoever looks only at him or herself never lights up.
Well, it's people like Sister Patrizia who have enlightened our path a little. Of course, we know that taking care of the land, the cities, the villages, the poorest people through little good things does not solve the problems of the world, but it is such a precious virtue because it preserves in its depth the only true meaning of life. 'Chapeau' Sister Patrizia.