If someone would ask what I have learned during the pandemic I would not hesitate to answer: I have learned to appreciate the relationship built with the people who walk at our side, with whom we share beautiful memories of our past lives, who bring serenity to our days while preparing the future. Living in a home for elderly Sisters I made good use of my mobile phone by keeping up friendly relationships, to give and receive help as well as to remember with joy beautiful times spent together.

In these months while talking on the phone with some former pupils we remembered the joy we had last year of getting together after many years.

In April 2019 I received an unexpected invite to dinner by one of my former pupils. I accepted and to my astonishment at the restaurant I found 20 of the 32 alumni who 55 years ago, (scholastic year 1964/65), attended the last class of the primary school, at the Sacred Heart’s school in Carpi, which was run by our Sisters in those days.

Carlo Alberto Medici, the former pupil who had organized the event wrote in the local newspaper “Il tempo”: “It was a touching meeting filled with many good memories. We clearly felt how in the years spent at the primary school we were marked by the fresh and involving style of our teacher sr. M. Francesca Bassi, who, in spite of her 87 years of age, is still amiable and loved by her former pupils who are now managers, teachers, doctors some of whom are already retired and have become grand-parents.

We are pleased to notice that among the former pupils who attended the meeting there was also the Rector of the University in Bolzano”.

Before the meal Carlo invited everybody to “stand in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit …”, then, as in the old school’s days, they all prayed at one voice. The meal was interspersed of poems’ recitals, articles from the class’ bulletin of that year, and the sharing of their professional and familiar journeys and commitments. Sr M. Francesca had also a lively part sharing something of her own life and experience.

The greatest surprise came in the end, because the restaurant’s owners, enchanted by the friendliness and the testimony of those “great men”, offered us the meal refusing any payment. We closed our meeting exchanging joyful greetings and good wishes in the hope of meeting again.

I cannot tell how much I learned from this occasion, and the many feelings which went through my heart could only end in a song of praise to the Lord and a heartfelt wish to each one of the pupils I met while accomplishing my mission as a teacher. Their phone calls give me courage in facing the solitude of old age, and make me understand how prayer, affection, friendship and good memories … are the loving foundation which brings comfort to others, though we are unaware of it, and in spite of the years that go away quickly and seem to take away with them all memories and loving feelings.

Sr M. Francesca B.