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On our way towards Dakar we need to reflect more and more about the challenges we face in order to discuss and find together the best actions to contribute and bring justice and peace in such globalised indifference.

Continuing with the reflection about Amoris Laetitia and the characteristics listed in the Hymn to Love, this month I would like to suggest that “love is not rude.” To contribute to build up a “culture of encounter” we need “to be open to a genuine encounter with others, “a kind look” is essential. This is incompatible with a negative attitude that readily points out other people’s shortcomings while overlooking one’s own. A kind look helps us to see beyond our own limitations, to be patient and to cooperate with others, despite our differences. Loving kindness builds bonds, cultivates relationships, creates new networks of integration and knits a firm social fabric. In this way, it grows ever stronger, for without a sense of belonging we cannot sustain a commitment to others; we end up seeking our convenience alone and life in common becomes impossible. Antisocial persons think that others exist only for the satisfaction of their own needs. Consequently, there is no room for the gentleness of love and its expression. Those who love are capable of speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation, and encouragement. These were the words that Jesus himself spoke: “Take heart, my son!” (Mt 9:2); “Great is your faith!” (Mt 15:28); “Arise!” (Mk 5:41); “Go in peace” (Lk 7:50); “Be not afraid” (Mt 14:27). These are not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn” (AL 100).

If this is worth in the family, it has to be applied also in the larger human family in order to overcome the atmosphere of indifference, suspect, bullying, exploitation especially of the weakest and poorest ones. And WUCWO has chosen to be witness of hope with a special attention to the family, the young and the sufferings in the world

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to hesitate when the Spirit calls us to take a step forward. Let us ask for the apostolic courage to share the Gospel with others and to stop trying to make our Christian life a museum of memories. In every situation, may the Holy Spirit cause us to contemplate history in the light of the risen Jesus. In this way, the Church will not stand still, but constantly welcome the Lord’s surprises” (Gaudete et Exsultate 139).


Armida Barelli Venerable

Born December 1, 1882 in a family of the industrious Milanese bourgeoisie. She was not educated in religious values.

Between 1895 and 1990 she studied in a Swiss boarding school, where she learned to know and love the Lord.

In the years between 1900 and 1908, she did not miss out on repeated occasions to form her own family, but she chose a different path for herself. She was committed to helping orphans and children of prisoners.

In 1910 the meeting with a great Franciscan took place: Father Agostino Gemelli.

On 17 February 1918, by the will of Card. Ferrari, she began the Milanese Catholic Feminine Youth, becoming its President. On September 28th of the same year, she was nominated by Benedict XV President of the National Youth for the expansion of the "G. Toniolo" Institute Association and of the Promoting Committee for the foundation of the Catholic University, officially inaugurated by the then Card. Achille Ratti on December 7, 1921.

In 1919 she established, together with Father Gemelli, a family of lay women consecrated to God.

In 1920 he began the Missionary Work of Female Youth in Sian-Fu (northern China), entitled "Benedict XV Institute." Supported for almost three decades, the Opera is still active.

On 9 February 1921, Benedict XV sent to Father Gemelli the Brief Apostolic "Cum Semper" - Magna Charta of the Catholic University - requested by Armida Barelli. On 7 December of the same year, Cardinal Ratti inaugurated the Catholic University.

From 1927 to 1929 she organised the Opera della Regalità of N.S. Jesus Christ, for the diffusion of liturgical life and Christocentric spirituality.

In 1946 she received from Pius XII the appointment of Deputy General President of Catholic Action for a three-year term.

From 1920 to 1950 she traveled Italy several times to spread the Feminine Youth (one million five hundred thousand registered); she organised national and international conferences and conventions, Social Weeks, pilgrimages, countless cultural and educational courses. She gave great impetus to the Catholic activity of women in the International Leagues.

In the prolonged illness - which began in the autumn of 1949 - she lived in the purest faith, in a spirit of penance, in prolonged prayer and in the offer - in particular - for the future Faculty of Medicine and the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome.

She ended his life on August 15, 1952, the feast of the Assumption.


Prayer (from Anita Trichet) 

Woman of Samaria, whose story transcended the times,

you knew what it meant to go up to the well

and down again to the town, without spilling the fresh, pure water of the biblical mountain,

you guarded this water, precious gift from heaven.

Then, one day, at the edge of the Sychar’s well, the Lord spoke to you ...

Today, the Lord keeps waiting for us in the well of our encounters ...

We can draw from it the water of friendship, the water of truth, the water of hope, the water of peace.

In the desert of routine and solitude,

you are thirsty for giving us to drink …

In the desert of suffering and indifference,

you are thirsty for giving us to drink …

In the desert of failure and division,

you are thirsty for giving us to drink …

In our Wells, Lord,

do we still keep the freshness of living water?

In my heart, Lord,

is there still thirst for living water?

In the noon sunshine of hot days

you come and sit down at the well’s edge to speak to us

and become a spring for all and each of us ...

You, the gift of God ...

Blessed be you, Lord, for the living water of your love which makes us live.

Thank you Lord for this spring of water that illuminates the life of our sisters and brothers that we discover in the well of the encounters of life.

Thank you for making us walk together towards the oasis of peace.

Thank you for watering us with the spring of your living water.



Further Readings

Amoris Laetitia 99 - 104

Gaudete et Exsultate 112-115

Nostra Aetate 5

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