These are the happy faces of the elderly who come to this Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul center in Rome every Tuesday. They feel at home here, because they have found a place to share with others.
They say the center is their space. A space to pray, share meals, learn and talk about their personal situations, but also to alleviate the common loneliness old age often brings.
(Isolina and Maria Teresa)
“The sisters are very good to us. Especially Sr. Carla, she organizes things for us. We love her a lot.”
“I love when she speaks. She talks about the Church, the saints…”
“She explains so many things to us.”
“Think about it, I’m this old.”
“She gives us advice and tells us to stick together.”
Sr. Carla is the religious sister that assists them. The Italian decided to fully dedicate herself to serving society’s most needy 47 years ago.
(SR. CARLA DI MARCO, Daughter of Charity)
“We try to provide a beautiful service. We all do our best. We try to help everyone and resolve their problems, but there are many problems and needs, and we don’t have the ability to resolve all of them. The important thing is that we become their friends. We try to give them a calm and welcoming environment, above all, a listening one. We listen to their needs.”
Each Tuesday, some 30 elderly enjoy this time the Daughters of Charity give them. Thus, initiatives like this one exemplify what Pope Francis asks for, for the elderly to be heard because they are the collective memory of communities.
On March 4, 2015, Pope Francis remarked, “It’s horrible to see the elderly tossed aside. It’s ugly and it’s a sin.” The Daughters of Charity heard him.
As St. Vincent de Paul said, “prayer is for the soul what food is for the body.” These are two ingredients that are always present at this house’s table.