Genoa, Monday 21st September 2020.
It’s night. It’s late. It’s not just any night. It’s the last night before leaving for Rome for San Saba. I’ve emptied the wardrobe of all my clothes. The suitcases have been ready for a few hours now. And the room is so quiet. As usual, at these hours.
Mentally I retrace the days I spent here. I return to the first night spent here in Genoa. Exactly seven hundred twenty-two days have passed. I think back to how bewildered I felt and, in some ways, so out of place when I arrived here.
Today I find myself here and I feel like I have never really lived anywhere else. Maybe physically I have. But not with my heart. Definitely not!
I think back to the people I have met in these seven hundred twenty-two days: trainers, companions of yesterday and today, the young people of the apostolate of Sestri Ponente, and all the others I have met in the various experiments. I see their faces, their smiles. It almost seems to me that I can hear their voices.
The REM sang that leaving New York is never easy… You can see that they never had the novitiate experience!
It’s so strange to leave a place where you feel at home. And yet, deep in my heart, I feel a great peace. Despite all the possible fears about my future, I feel peaceful.
Just over a week after my first vows, I feel the importance of moving forward. I recognise the need to start walking on this new road.
The temptation to take everything with me, people, friendships and places, is there. However, I recognise what it would be like to want to take over something that has been given to me for free and that does not belong to me, it cannot belong to me so beautiful it is!
“You have given it to me, to you, Lord, I laugh at it;
everything is yours, everything you have”
I recognise, therefore, how within each of these seven hundred twenty-two days the Lord has been with me. And I am grateful because He has taken care of me every single day.
Giovanni Barbone, jesuit scholastic