Hello, my name is Paolo, I am 37 years old and I come from Italy. I had a normal childhood: I was a happy child and I received love and affection from my family especially my grandparents who I spent a lot of time with. During my teenage years I used to stay at home alone and I started to get attracted by people with the same family background. My values changed and I started to be interested in the things of the world such as clothes, cars and girls. My parents had the opportunity to give me everything I wanted and in the end that was not enough any more to fill my emptiness. To overcome this feeling, I began to take drugs and to drink following the bad example of my friends and to pretend to be like them. I had been living for years a parallel life, good student and good son at home and a rebel outside. I was an expert in lying to my parents and I tried to please them by getting my university and Masters degrees but only to make sure that I was given money for my bad habits. I met a girl and with her I accelerated my drug taking and gradually the wall of lies fell.

I could not manage my faults and paranoia any more and I asked for help from my parents. In October 2017 I entered into the Cenacolo Community in the fraternity of Cuorgne’. I was not religious but I was desperate and the smile of the brothers that I met and the patience of my guardian angel helped me to overcome the first days. I decided that I wanted to be like them. At the beginning I could not understand the rules and I did not take into consideration the prayer, but God was already working on me and gradually I accepted what the Community proposed to me. The rules gave structure and helped me to set my mind right. The prayer gave me peace and the will to move on in my daily life and finally I discovered the adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. My encounter with Jesus helped me to start to heal the wounds from my past. In July 2018 I was transferred to Ireland to the fraternity Our Lady of Knock. I felt straight away something different, Our Lady was there waiting for me. Since the first adoration I have felt in the chapel the strong presence of the Mother of God and I have made a friendship with her. I learnt to ask her help in my daily moments of struggle.

My parents have been going to the parents’ meeting and they came to Knock to visit me and I can say that Our Lady helped to make reconciliation with them possible as well. Now I am aware about my mistakes and through the walk in Community we know each other better and we are a family united again. In the summer of 2019 I went home for “verifica”: I was at home for a week and I noticed that outside life is still the same but that I have changed and I am grateful to the Community for this gift. The good friends I had are still outside waiting for me and so I feel really chosen by God. I came back full of energy and I decided to give back to the Community what I have received by helping other lads to overcome their addiction in order to make them see the light again and to experience everything I have gained during my walk.

God gave me this opportunity straight away: in December I got transferred to Kendal and here I found two beautiful statues of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary waiting for me in the chapel and this makes me feel happy and alive again. I understood that what I had been looking for for years in the world to fill my emptiness had been waiting for me in Community. I felt accepted and welcomed by the brothers and by the friends of the house. I spent a good Christmas time and I started to build friendships in the way the Community taught me, in the truth and respecting each other. I have never made such deep and sincere friendships as in Community.

Thank you Lord Jesus and Mary for Mother Elvira’s life, for speaking through her to our hearts. I’m looking forward to the way God has prepared for my future.