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Morning thoughts of the Castaldi family ( Saronno, Italy ) gathered to pray and grow together.
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The English version was edited by Franco Gioia and Paolo Sala and it was coordinated by Gabriele Bottai

393 - The psalm of the nostalgia

02-Oct-2019 - Wednesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Word of God            
By the rivers of Babylon we sat mourning and weeping when we remembered Zion. On the poplars of that land we hung up our harps. There our captors asked us for the words of a song; Our tormentors, for a joyful song: "Sing for us a song of Zion!" But how could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land?... Psa 136
This is the psalm of the nostalgia, of the tormenting regret for the lost homeland. I understood these verses in Brazil: the first time when I was in Curitiba, for the adoption of Marcos and Claudio, and a second time when I was invited for a presentation of the Italian culture in the area of Ilopolis, country of Italian immigrants. The two situations were very different, but the request of the descendants of the emigrants was always the same: "Tell us about Italy!". One evening a lady of Curitiba told me in a broken, by then, italian language that when she was a child she slept in the same room of her grandmother, who every evening, after having dressed her long white nightgown, was undoing the hair and brushing it for a long time, waiting that her granddaughter fell asleep. The child, understanding it, was simulating to sleep, watching stealthily her grandmother who was used to draw out from a small drawer the letters received from Italy: she opened all of those and read now one, now another, and wept. Since then it has been hard not to move me, during my history lessons, when I explained the period of the great migrations from Italy. But I think the students felt the emotion of my voice. During the second trip to that country which I love so much, I was taken to visit some mills, where a few decades in the past, the brazilian government sent to work a number of Italian immigrants: they were far from the local villages, among vast expanses of trees and plantations of tobacco. In the neighborhood of a mill, I met an elderly woman, who was baptized by her father Amabile Italia, who was religiously preserving the small objects which have been remained to her from the origin country of his family. I remember her hugs: she poured on me, Italian, her affection for Italy, which she well knew she would have never seen. More recently I have been asked to commemorate near Marcinelle, Belgium, the mining disaster which occurred in 1956, on the occasion of an exhibition of photos and paintings of the painter Giuseppe Flangini. In the hours preceding the ceremony, I walked among the panels, or, rather, I hid myself, to not show my eyes which were becoming lucid in front of their faces, whose eyes were showing at the same time courage and nostalgia: the courage of those who chose to leave their country and to daily immerse themselves in the bowels of the earth to build a future for their children and the poignant nostalgia of the separation from all their past. It is the same nostalgia which you can breathe in this psalm.


Anna Maria Rossi e Pierluigi Castaldi
via Gaudenzio Ferrari, 29 - 21047 Saronno (VA) ITALY