During the last week we have had two visitors here at the General House. They are Rafael Rodrigues and Matheus Gonsalves (left and right respectively in the photo above) — novices from Brazil. In this article, they write about their experience of visiting Rome for the first time:
My name is Matheus Augusto S. Gonsalves. Being in Italy, especially in Rome (the Eternal City), is a dream come true. This is also the first time I have journeyed outside of Brazil. It is, without a doubt, an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
During these first several days in Italy, Rafael and I have been staying at the General House. We have been welcomed and we now have the opportunity to meet the priests, to experience fraternity, and to visit this wonderful city that is so rich in culture.
Soon we will be on our way to Pinerolo for the novitiate – a possibility that is an answer to our prayers. This new stage (of formation) is important, especially since we are spending this time so close to the roots of the Congregation and so close to our Founding Father, Venerable Lanteri.
We are counting on everyone’s prayers during this year of profound experience. Let us all pray that Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri, together with our dear Mother, the Virgin Mary, intercede constantly for all of us.
I’m Rafael Rodrigues. I’m Brazilian and I’m 32 years old. I am in Europe for the first time – and for such a special occasion. That is, I am here to begin this particular period of formation that is called the novitiate – a period of time during which I will have to deepen my knowledge of the divine vocation proper to the Institute, experience its way of life and allow myself to be formed, in mind and heart, according to its own spirit.
Thanks to God’s grace, this period will take place, for us Brazilians, in Pinerolo, near the tomb of our Founder. However, we are staying in Rome for a few days because of the documents.
This stay in Rome has given us the opportunity to get to know a little bit about the Eternal City and to visit the tomb of the Apostle Saint Peter – Fr. John Wykes accompanied us. While at the tomb, I prayed for our entire congregation and also prayed for the Supreme Pontiff, that God would confirm him in the governance of the Church.
To visit the Gesu and to pray before the tomb of Saint Ignatius was another unforgettable moment. Both Saint Ignatius and the Spiritual Exercises are invaluable gifts to the Church.
To conclude, I cannot fail to mention the stay at the General House. It has been wonderful to meet so many priests and of different nationalities and, above all, to witness the atmosphere of fraternity, prayer and joy that is lived here, despite the many responsibilities that exist in a house that includes the administrative headquarters of our Religious family.
These have been amazing days! I believe that the aesthetic experience I have had in Rome, with all its history and beauty, has infused and confirmed in my heart the power and beauty of the truth of the Catholic Faith!
Please pray for us! We pray for you!