Italy - 2011
Our names are Bruno and Lorena and we were married in 1993. At first, the faith was an important part of our lives, however it did not seem essential to us. Then, in 1997 we had our first child and we began to understand that it was important that we take our son to church on Sunday, as we had had him baptized. But, at that time, our faith was still a little weak.
Later on, with the birth of our second son a whole new (and challenging) world seemed to open before us, as he was a child affected by Down syndrome. From that moment, we began to turn to God in prayer and supplication in search of answers to the questions that we faced each day. We saw that without the Lord in our lives, we could do so little on our own.
When, the day after his birth, we were told that he would have to undergo a major operation, we immediately asked one of the priests at the hospital to baptize our son, so we could receive God’s grace for him and for ourselves in overcoming this operation. Over time we were sure we had done the best thing for him.
Afterwards, our son had to spend several months in the hospital following a diagnosis of a problem with the duodenum and Hirschsprung’s disease. Emergency surgery was needed to remove the damaged section of intestine. This was obviously a terrible blow for us, as his parents, especially because he was only six months old and already undergoing a second high-risk operation. The chances of him surviving it were few, as he was not growing. In fact, he only weighed 8.5 pounds.
In those moments, as parents the only solution that came to mind was to put our son in the Lord’s hands. We asked Him to accompany us in living the suffering caused by the disease. This was when we began to pray the Rosary and ask Mary to intercede for us before her Son.
When he went into the operating room, we stayed nearby and prayed until he came out. Both times, the operation seemed endless, as each surgery lasted nearly nine hours. But with the help of Mary, we knew that everything would be resolved in the best way possible. In fact, the operations went well and he recovered so quickly that even the doctor who had operated on him could not explain such a rapid improvement. But we know why: because he was with the Lord. When we told the doctor, he was in agreement. He said that the doctors do what they can with their hands, but it is God who does the rest. Currently, our son is 10 years old and growing well. He loves going to see Jesus, as he says, when we go to church and every Saturday after the Scouts meeting, he wants to go over to the “ladies’” (as he calls the Sisters) house for the Home of the Mother encounter, and if there isn’t an encounter that day, he gets all upset.
A year after his birth, in 2002, something very serious happened in our family, which was a tough trial for us all. But, it was precisely at that time that we began to seek the Lord in everything we did, perhaps because He was the only one who knew how to listen to and understand us without judging, and without making us feel like strangers. At all times, we entrusted Mary with our concerns, as she is the one who intercedes before her Son and like a good mother, she took us by the hand. And thus, we were able to reach the end of the day with a smile, looking forward to tomorrow. During this time, our “point of reference” was the Shrine of Maria Rosa Mystica. Thanks to the prayers we had said to her, everything was finally resolved and we were able to live once more with the great joy of having discovered the love of Mary and her Son, Our Lord. It is a love that we had received so often, but that we had never wanted to recognize. And despite it all, they have never abandoned us. Now we are very happy with this love and we pray that it will remain with us always.
Later on, in 2009, the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother came to our parish. From the beginning, we were very impressed by their spirituality: love for Mary, the defense of the Eucharist, and the apostolate with the youth. Along with them, we also met the founder, Fr. Rafael, a man with a heart of gold and a love for the Lord and Our Lady that left us speechless. We wanted to be part of this big family and we made the commitment as Friends of the Home. We love attending the meetings and encounters of spirituality and catechetical formation that the Sisters organize and we must admit that they are so very enriching for our souls. This year, for the first time, we also participated in the Holy Week Encounter and we were able to discover many things about the Easter Triduum, things that we did not even know existed. And we owe our gratitude above all to the Sisters, whom we take this opportunity to thank with all our heart.