One of the joys of our Pastorelle sisters who have families overseas is to be able to visit them according to our Rule of Life. The pandemic forced such visits to be put on hold until international travel resumed.
Sr Candida De Angelis waited five years before being able to revisit her family in Italy. Given her age and the long journey from Australia to Italy, our community agreed that one of our sisters should be a travel-companion to her. I was the fortunate one to be invited to be this travel-companion. We set out on 10 August to return to Australia on 7th September.
During my sojourn in Italy, my very first time there, I was particularly interested to meet and spend time with some of our older Pastorelle sisters who have been wonderful pioneers in living and sharing our pastoral charism in Italy and overseas. That is why it was suggested that I visit and spend time in Verona and also Negrar, homes to the elderly and sick sisters of the Province. It is my joy to share my experience with you; a memorable experience that will forever remain in my heart.
Throughout my 10 days in Verona and two days visit in Negrar, I was generously hosted, loved and cherished by our very own community of Pastorelle Sisters.
I treasure the memories and the experiences I had during those days with them.
Not knowing the language well, it was a great challenge to speak, translate and make gestures in order to communicate, but the effort on both sides was uplifting and more friendship gained. If the sisters could not speak to me, at least friendly nods and many smiles kept us in the same spirit of Pastorelle Sisters.
It was a genuine experience of community life and care for each other. Though health may be a significant factor in some members to join in community activities, but generally healthy enough to participate in their spiritual nourishment – Eucharist and community prayers and devotions. The sisters singing at the Parish Church across the road was truly inspiring. Their ministry of prayer is very powerful and edifying. Each one has her own ways of helping in the community chores. I had the privilege to pay my respects at the gravesites of the deceased sisters and filled with thoughts of gratitude for each one of them.
I received the blessing to ponder more the love of the Good Shepherd for giving me the vocation to belong to the family of the Pastorelle Sisters. It also widened my perspective of the Shepherd’s care specifically to our very own sisters who journeyed much ahead of us.
But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:31)
Sr Nelia Llanto, SJBP