vocation stories | ANTONELLA

Years ago, I spent 2 months in Rome taking an intensive course sponsored by the bank that I was working for. During my free time I used to walk through the streets of the Eternal City; it was during one of those walks that my life suddenly changed. I stepped into a Church as a tourist and I stepped out as someone who had fallen in love… I cannot explain what happened: I can only say that Tiziana’s invitation “COME AND SEE” had such a strong impact on my life, carrying me into a new reality. But let me tell you something more about me, about who I was before that encounter.

When I was fifteen I journaled: “I think that I am happy but I know that I’m not. I know that I shouldn’t feel like this, because I have a boyfriend that loves me. But I think that it’s a matter of “dimensions”. If, for you, your own life is the highest reality… well, you should be satisfied when you meet someone that will love you for the rest of your life. But for someone like me, this is not enough. I always compare my life to the Infinite that I so much long for. I daily discover my nothingness and my being small… and a human love has my same dimensions: is as small as I am. My happiness lies in finding a love that will fill my entire life, a love that is eternal!” This is the person that Tiziana met in that Church in Rome, five years later.

I was satisfied with what was going on in my young life: the best academics, a full scholarship at the prestigious University of Padova, an incredibly rewarding job position in a bank, with many opportunities for a top career. But I was still hungry for a greater love. I was looking for “something more,” for “someone else,” but I couldn’t give a name to my desires. The day of the meeting with the Grace I was going to another appointment: the lunch with a friend at his house in Piazza di Spagna – on a balcony overlooking one of the most beautiful sights in Rome!

But on my walk there I felt pressed to stop before in a Church. As I knelt down, little did I know that Tiziana, sitting in a pew a few feet behind me, was waiting for that specific devotional act. She entered in that Church after hours of walking; she was praying to God like this: “If now that girl kneels down, I will approach her and start talking to her.” Suddenly, she approached me and we started talking; she was sharing with me about her love for God and her desire to spread the Gospel among the youth. She started talking about the beauty and importance of prayer, and I was so taken by her words that I didn’t realize that I was going to be late for the date with my friend. Suddenly, without her knowing about my previous commitment, she invited me to meet her Community. Right then and there I had to make a choice, one of those that I felt could have had the power to change someone’s life. I couldn’t resist her words “COME AND SEE where we live” (see Jn 1, 39). So I went and saw where they lived and I spent the day with them… That was only the very beginning of a beautiful journey that I’m still walking. My road was clear from that moment on: after years of research, I could finally fulfill my teenage dream; “I want the infinite and it will be mine!”