EUROPE/ITALY - Religious congregations welcome Afghan refugees

Saturday, 6 November 2021 wars   reception   refugees  

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Being able to welcome two Afghan refugee families represents for us the greatest gift we could receive: it is like having Jesus here. We are welcoming him, we are taking care of him, he is our guest of honor. Upon arrival they were tired, suffering: in the four days in which they tried to flee they fought fear, hunger, cold. They did not have the possibility to wash themselves and they did not have clothes, because they had to escape without being able to take anything with them. Now, however, they are relaxed, happy and feel safe. One of them, a few days ago, told us that he feels like he is in heaven". This is what Sister Gloria Lopez, a religious of the Missionary Sisters of the Consolata of Nepi told Fides. The congregation, in mid-August, when the Afghan crisis reached its peak, did not hesitate to open the doors of their home and welcome two Afghan families, fleeing for having collaborated with an Italian Catholic association that was to educating disabled children committed in Kabul.
We are talking in particular about eleven people - 4 adults and their 7 children - who were also warmly welcomed by the inhabitants of the small town in Lazio. She tells the nun in this regard: "People continue to donate clothes, food, offers of all kinds. We also have professionals who offer their services for free, such as Italian language teachers, a dentist and a hairdresser. Everyone does or brings what he can. All these aids are a a gift, and at the same time they give us the opportunity to do apostolate among the inhabitants of the area". The reception allowed the refugees to start a new life in a foreign country, with confidence and hope for the future. "We receive so much support every day and we feel so lucky to be here that this makes us confident for tomorrow" one of them tells Fides, and adds: "I see many changes, for example I can see the smile on the face of my children: it is a real smile, and I feel that now they are finally happy and serene. We have a new life and we can say that we are reborn. Before the return of the Taliban we were leading a good life, but from the announcement of the official withdrawal date of American troops in June 2021, we understood that the situation would precipitate. When we received the news that we would be evacuated by the Italian government, we saw the light again in the darkest and most difficult moment of our life". (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 6/11/2021)