Hello everybody. My name is Samuele, I am 24 years old and I come from Italy. I want to tell you my story. I was born into a Catholic family and from my childhood I never missed the love of, and a good education from, my parents. I can say that I always felt their love. My family is a simple family who taught me to live in a simple way and to be satisfied with and appreciate the simple things in life, so far from the materialism of the world of today. I remember that I was joyful child, full of life.
After the separation of my parents and when my brother left home some fears and some anxieties started to grow within me. At the age of 14 I was a very insecure boy; I started to smoke cigarettes and to have my first experience with weed. I would do everything so as not to be inferior to others and to be accepted by my friends. Everything started like a game but in a short time to smoke and to drink became completely normal. Apparently I felt better, I found confidence, but it was just an illusion. At the age of 17 I felt the need for something more because my difficulties and my insecurities grew. So, I started to go to the discotheques and to rave parties and to use stronger drugs. My life became a total slavery and my only thoughts were on using drugs and dancing. I totally changed my personality; everything became black, without sense, I hated everything and I lost the relationship with my parents. I was closed with them, angry, because of the uncomfortable truths they were telling me. These truths were that I was sad and I needed help.
In the last 2 years before entering the Community I woke up every day asking desperately why my life had lost its sense. At this point my parents suggested I go on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje with a group of 60 boys and girls. I accepted this invitation just because I wanted to have a break and to go far from home. In the first moment I realised that the prayer didn’t touch me but I was very struck by hearing the testimony of a guy inside the Community because he lived the same problems as me. Today I am sure that Our Lady called me to this holy place to know the Community. It was a great experience but when I came back home I relapsed straight away. The atmosphere in the house became worse and my parents three times asked me to leave. I lived in the street alone, without money, and I was completely desperate. Nothing could give me back my joy, nor stop me from using drugs. At this moment I started to cry and I felt that somebody gave me the strength to ask for help and to change my life. So I called my parents and finally I entered the Community.
In the fraternity of Bari in the south of Italy at first I was angry and sad but the welcoming of the other smiling guys, with light in their eyes, and the fact they never judged me immediately struck me. From the beginning I felt the love of the Community, I started to build true friendships and slowly, slowly I came back to smiling and to regaining my former self. When I started to pray with an open heart I overcame my difficulties, my walk came to a crossroads and I started to see a new light in my life.
I will remember forever my first meeting with my parents. We gave each other a big hug, crying like never before, and it was a very important moment of reconciliation. I felt the love and the forgiveness of a family finally reunited: with God also the most wounded relationship started to heal. One of the most difficult steps was to accept my poverties, my mistakes that I had hidden because of my pride. A walk of prayer and truth permitted me to start to live, to appreciate the simple things of my life which are also the most beautiful. Thanks to God, my life is completely changed and continues to change every day because my faith gave me back the meaning of everything. Today I can say that we can change, we can live in the light even after the most complete darkness, but only with Jesus who, step by step, helps us to change sadness to joy, hate to love. I want to say a big thank you to Mother Elvira and to the Community who welcomed me as an addict, without questions, but who saved my life.