01-07-2007 - Traces, n. 7
Italy Saint Francis House in Varigotti

I Would See them from My Window

edited by P.B.

Mrs. Libera’s eyes start glowing as she recalls the moment when, on Easter of 1961 (as well as on the following ones), the GS kids would arrive at the small Ligurian village. She was married, with three small children, and her house in Varigotti was located right at the beginning of the alley that leads to the Church of St. Laurence. From her window, she would see the GS kids walk by.

What do you remember?
I have a specific memory, like a photograph printed in my eyes and in my heart. I can see the kids walking toward Saint Laurence. On the way there, they were like a swarm of bees, all of them talking. On the way back, there was absolute silence. These youngsters looked like they were filled with... meaning. They looked transformed to me.

And Father Giussani?
I can still see him, this “boy” running back and forth, giving orders to this or that kid–he had something to say to each one of them. He was bursting with enthusiasm. I never mustered up the courage to stop him and talk to him, but I’ll never be able to forget the gaze that he had on his kids. I did manage to ask some of them about him, though.

What did they tell you?
They talked about him with veneration. They told me that he would repeat: “I want you to be happy. Christians are happy people.” He was an unusual man, one who attracted people to him. Over the years that the kids came to Varigotti, I would be there, at the right time to be able to see them from my window.

What were these kids like?
Very polite and beautiful! There was something different about them, even just in the expression of their eyes, and the way they talked. They had something inside. The whole village was happy for their arrival, and we were happy that the nuns sold Saint Francis House to the Movement. During the remodeling, many of us were expecting Father Giussani to come back. And this time, I would have asked him all the questions that I hadn’t had the courage to ask before...