“It only takes a spark

To get a fire going

And soon all those around

Can warm up in its glowing

That’s how it is with God’s love

Once you’ve experienced it

You spread His love to ev’ryone

You want to pass it on…” (Kurt Kaiser)

Pass it on! Spread it on!!! The invitation for everyone and we- the tertians do the same. We have experienced God’s everlasting and marvelous love through our active encounter with Him in daily study, prayer, and sharing together, so, we spread, we pass.

How and where?

Every Thursday, with great joy and full of energy, we go to the heart of Rome, the Archconfraternity Holy Sacrament and Queen of Martyrs – Caritas Canteen where welcomes all the immigrants and refugees coming for meal each day. The congregation serves people freely with bread, meat, pizza, pasta, vegetables, and fruits for 500-600 people each day. The volunteers are working with much love and care, palpable in the smiles beaming from their eyes and faces.

We have the chance to collaborate with the volunteers and met the refugees, immigrants who come every day for lunch. They come from different countries – Ukraine, Peru, India, South Sudan, Congo, Costa Rica… where war, injustice, inflation, and economic trauma are the constant order of the day. Their families lack food, clothing, and a place to lay their heads and weary bodies. And painfully, they had to leave their families to seek for new hope, flee from their beloved homeland to seek for a brighter and more peaceful life in a foreign land. In the midst of various tragedies, there are glimmers of hope. They long for love and care and seek justice, freedom, peace, and what is their rightful place as human beings. They come to Rome hoping that they can have a job so that they can support their family. Things are not easy because they don’t have the documents or proper visas. The floor in the bus station is where they can lay their head, the sky is their roof day and night, and the charity of others is where they get food. Without essential resources such as food, clothing, and shelter, it is impossible to live a dignified life. Indeed, the people who come to us always bow their heads, are shy to talk, and even avoid our compassionate gaze…

We are coming here not only to collaborate with the Caritas on what we can do but also to experience and meet “Our Lord, the Christ whom the poor represents, asks to be served, and must not be refused for anything” (St. Raphaela Mary) in a reparative way. We try to uplift, and rebuild the dignity of the human person by our full presence, our way of being with them, caring for them, connecting with them, serving them, and looking at them like Jesus has done to us. On the other hand, we let them evangelize, nourish and teach us through their presence and stories so that we don’t stop at being overwhelmed by sorrow, frustration, powerlessness, and anguish but feel with them the signs of hope, new life, and the wonder of faith amid difficulties and trials. And we believe that “When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow; in listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well regarded nowadays.” (Pope. Francis)

Through them, the Lord calls us to conversion, to be set free from exclusivity, indifference, and the throw-away culture. Through them, the Lord invites us to embrace fully and totally our vocation as handmaids. Through them, “we contemplate the heart of God which leads us to gaze the world with active hope.” (GCXXI)

Therese Thùy Tiên, aci