The day that they announced that we were going to receive the Cross of Lampedusa in our school, the first thing we asked was why that cross was important, and what its significance was. For some of us, it was the first time that we had heard of it. When they explained it to us, we were impressed and we experienced many sentiments, some opposite of others, joy and satisfaction because of the opportunity to have the Cross of Lampedusa among us; sadness and powerlessness because of all the history contained within those pieces of wood from the boat and all that it signified.

Every student in the school, from the smallest to the eldest spent a moment of prayer and reflection before the Cross in the school chapel. There were several things that made us think, for example, realizing that the word “patera” (small boat) had a message for each one of us. That message was PÁRATE (STOP).  Stop in the face of this injustice. Stop to think about all of those persons who sought new opportunities and a better life, who fled from their countries because of war, of poverty… Those people were just looking for an opportunity for themselves and their families, not harming anyone. Deciding to get into the little boat put their lives in danger. Many of them did not know how to swim, but they were so desperate that they preferred to take the risk.

Another thing that made an impact on us was this phrase during the prayer: “Many dreams of women and children who wanted to be recorded in history, were undone in the sea, and they are forgotten.”

The Cross made us think a lot about how lucky we are, about how we complain about little things, about how we consider school an obligation, and nevertheless, for those children who fled in the boat, it would have been a great gift, a wonderful opportunity.

Kissing the Cross, touching it and reflecting in its presence helped us to put ourselves into the shoes of those who suffer, and for this we give thanks.

And a question that we all asked ourselves was: What can I do for them? How can I help them? And What am I going to do about it? What is my role?

Students of 6th A and B Primary Level: Alba Hernández, Estela Crego, Lucia Cosme, Javier Rojas, Pablo García and Aroa Pérez.

Handmaids of the Sacred Heart School in Salamanca