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Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
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Danimarca e pizza fritta

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Denmark and Fried Pizza

by Pasquale Landolfi

An hour to fry the pizzas. Filippo is still busy working the pasta and filling it with what he needs while Lorenzo and I are busy keeping the oil at temperature. From time to time the oil splashes due to the contact with the tomato that comes out. Delicate operations carried out without making noise because it’s 7 pm and it’s time for prayer, so while cooking, we pray the rosary and in the silence of the work our gaze is fixed in the oil of the pan and my memory takes me back to the moments of the month of the Spiritual Exercises.
I think back to how intense the recently concluded experience was, to the flame of the Spirit that animated the recent contemplations, to the life of Jesus and to all the gifts received, especially those that arrived without me asking for them, as the Gospel says, “your Father knows what things you need even before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:7-15).; I get back to myself to prepare supper and God already returns to manifest Himself in the daily life of the Novitiate.
But the community that has just been reunited is again close to separation because the second year novices have packed their bags for their Lent experiment and pizzas are the best way to celebrate a stage that has ended and another that is about to begin, but also an opportunity for deeper reflection: how many differences characterize us! Memory this time takes a leap back to the days when I worked ina Neapolitan pizzeria to pay for for my university studies. I notice the difference. The stress of work leaves room for joy in sharing a tradition of my Naples with others.
But after dinner another date awaits us. Daniel makes us fly to Denmark animating the recreation with a description of his country! He tells us about Copenhagen, the Queen, the “neighbouring” Faroe Islands and Greenland. Worlds unknown to me, entered my imagination thanks to Andersen’s fairy tales and some famous footballers: goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and the Laudrup brothers.
We have really a lot to thank the Lord for within the walls of our community. Just as the first founders of the Society of Jesus were Basques, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Savoy, so too we come from the most diverse places in Europe and so much richness is further enriched, to paraphrase Saint Paul, by the moans with which the Spirit speaks to each one in an absolutely personal way, making everyday life the best exercise to see God’s work.

Pasquale Landolfi, first years novice

Coronavirus and community in good Company

by Raul Petru Ciocani

 

Few of us can compare a period like this to experiences we have already lived. I spent almost two months without being able to leave the novitiate and this is the longest period I have ever had in my life without going out. Living in community is already a exceptional experience in itself, which I had never experienced before, and now, adding these restrictions, there is the risk of discouragement. In reality I am living this period very well, I have not yet found moments of boredom, indeed I have the opportunity to discover many aspects, and I will tell you why.

In addition to the comfort that accompanies me now, the feelings that pass through my heart in this time are truly varied: uncertainty, compassion with those who suffer and die from coronavirus, and also the fear for my family that is about 1200 km from Genoa, in the western part of Romania, where there are still not many infections. Talking to my grandmother who lives with my parents, I was surprised and impressed by the courage and strength with which she is going through this period. Having already experienced the Second World War, the communist occupation, the deportation of family members to work camps, she is very aware of the reality of this pandemic that we are facing with little courage and patience, because we no longer trust and no longer know in who we need to trust. This is one of the points that makes me think a lot: Can our faith really help us in such critical moments of our life? The answer is yes, but we have to find out. As those who find out during important events of their lives, such as migration, war, addictions, diseases, depression, loneliness and entrust themselves to God and put their destiny in his hands. Here, the current situation stimulates me to think about all this, about the shortcomings and weaknesses that we have and that we do not want to accept and face.

Now I’m going to explain to you why the rest of the time I still haven’t found the moments to get bored. Community life leads me to discover many aspects, which until now I did not know about myself, especially through personal relationships with companions and the community activity in which we are immersed. All of this keeps us very busy most of the time. Starting with the fact that every day I have several people to talk to during meals (friends with whom to share their experiences, daily joys, difficulties, etc.), moments of prayer together, everyday community liturgy but also the passing of the time having fun, playing football, volleyball, ping pong, etc. All this forms a lifestyle, the community one, where, as in a family, you cannot think only of yourself, but you also have the responsibility of the others.

These things represent the community life that we are living in this period of great difficulty for the whole world. The community is what made it much easier for us to go through this time, assimilating all the positive aspects it brings. Personally I live this dimension as a help to my vocation, which is to follow the Lord with the vows that I choose to make in the Society of Jesus.

Raul Ciocani, novice of the first year

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