Going to St James’ ?>

Going to St James’

My husband walked the Camino in 2005, with a friend of his. They started out in Burgos and walked 500 kilometers to the tomb of Saint James in Santiago. At the time, I did not know him. When we started dating, he told me he had walked The Way, but never went into the details. I saw the pictures – yellow plains, ancient churches, and smiling people – but that was all. As important and life-changing as he told me…

Read More Read More

A Man; a Witness; a Friend ?>

A Man; a Witness; a Friend

I am back home, in California, after a few weeks spent back home in Italy. Short digression: I actually never thought I could ever say so – yet it was the promise Christ made me in the Gospel on the day I got married. He said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal…

Read More Read More

Year of Mercy ?>

Year of Mercy

Now that I know what Catholic Charities of California is and does, I feel I am qualified to do the job. Ha-ha. I wish this was true. On the other hand, this has been too interesting to give in. So I keep talking to Shan, and asking questions. And she goes back to Italy, to spend time with an American friend who is now living in Rome. I can picture her: sitting on the back seat of a Vespa, both her…

Read More Read More

What is Catholic Charities of California? ?>

What is Catholic Charities of California?

I meet Shan again, finally, after what seemed to me to be a very very long time. She traveled, to Italy and Portugal and Spain, while, on my part, I finally got my Green Card and got back to working. Pretty big deal. We were not able to keep in touch, except for a few emails, because while traveling, she wrote to me, “I was so caught up in the experience that I only lived in the present.” Which is…

Read More Read More

Charity ?>


Purpose – this is what I was reflecting on the last time I sat down to writing. It is an open question, a bleeding wound, which keeps my eyes open and my heart asking, questioning reality. Particularly, I feel the urgency of purpose when my time is free. Don’t get me wrong: I looooove to have free time, to rest and nourish myself. Time I can use for what I value among the many things life has gifted me with,…

Read More Read More

Purpose ?>


Thinking back at that first meeting with Shan on Santana Row, that warm afternoon that gave life to these surprising (to me at least) conversations – as they are showing me things of myself that I did not know before… There is one thing that is still very much fixed in my mind and my heart and that, to this day, touches me profoundly: it is how fast we dived into talking about what life consists of, and what deep…

Read More Read More

Extraordinary ?>


Once back in Sacramento, Shan knew she had to fulfill her penance and  do something good for the poor, as the priest had asked her to. She did it, from what I understand, to respond, to correspond to God’s love for her. As she said, “He had mercy on me: He gave when I was not even looking; when my father was sick and dying.” But this is exactly the way I work as well: when I am showered with…

Read More Read More

Penance ?>


Actually, before going back to Sacramento, there is one more particular that needs mentioning, one without which no vine would have grown: penance. It is funny how, all these years being Catholic and going to Confession as regularly as possible, I never thought about or asked myself, or anyone else, why we get penance after Confession. It might have been explained when I was a kid getting ready for the Sacrament but, honestly, I don’t remember. Pretty bad, I know….

Read More Read More

Who is Shan? ?>

Who is Shan?

  “I am going to Italy this summer!” Now, guess who said it? You might think it was me, because I am from there, still very much in love with my home country, and always very happy to go back visit. But it wasn’t me. The first thing I find out about Shan is that she loves Italy – never were there better premises for a friendship to start… On my side, at least! And that she visits almost every…

Read More Read More

Unexpectedly Close ?>

Unexpectedly Close

I take a look at my calendar – pretty busy. Yay! Being an immigrant, without a work permit, and without children, my days can be pretty boring. Not today, though! Getting my tutoring classes ready in the morning, taking ballet at 1:30, meeting Shan at 3:30, and then taking watercolor at 6:30. I am honestly happy when my days have purpose – not really saving the world, or changing someone’s life, I know… but, hey! I am doing something! Also,…

Read More Read More