Welcome to everyone, here in Romersteinbruch. Hi, my name is Georg and I invite you to give thanks with us. I give thanks from my heart to the Lord for the gift of this Community, thank you because a place exists where God has given life back to those who have touched "bottom" and no longer knew where to go. We thank the Lord because he took us by the hand ,carrying us towards a new life and giving us the possibility to be here today with you to give thanks. I would like to say a special thanks to Mary, Mother of Cenacolo, and also Our Mother. She is the one that makes possible everything that today we have the gift of living. It is fascinating: if I think of myself… today is Sunday afternoon… normally, at this time I would have been in bed in a dark room, alone, sad, desperate, without a future or the will to live.
During this week of preparations, many times tears came to my eyes, like now, because it is beautiful to think how the Lord took me by the hand and told me: "Georg! You still have many things to do!" and now with my whole heart I want to thank the Mother of God for this Community, and because there are many people who are praying. Thank you for coming . Now we will say the Rosary, that in Community we pray three times a day and for us is the source of strength and life. It can also happen that we doubt, we pray "Hail Mary… Holy Mary" and we don't really believe, but I am convinced that thanks to the prayers of many people we can be here today. I do not know if I would still be alive if there was not a mother, a family that trusted and prayed: "Hail Mary… Holy Mary!". I want to thank everyone who prayed together with us for all of the preparations. There is also the sun, for which we prayed very much and it is beautiful to be here. Now, with a song to the Holy Spirit we make ready for the Rosary.
Hi, My name is Katarina, I am twenty two years old, I am Croatian but I grew up in Vienna and now, for the past three years I have been in the Community. I was nineteen years old when I entered for drug addiction. My problems had already started many years before I started using drugs. I never had a family life. My mother became pregnant with me when she was very young and my parents were separated before I was born.
As a child I already felt the emptiness of their separation and my anger continued to grow. When I was fourteen I started to search for things that I was not able to find in my family and only one year later, at fifteen, I left home and ended up on the streets. I always wanted to be free and I thought this was the right way. Today I can testify that this only lead me in the wrong direction. I started to use heavy drugs almost immediately: first cocaine and then heroin, which became my mother, father, brother, friend … everything! I was walking down a dark road. At only nineteen, even heroin was not enough and I started using morphine and I guarantee you that here I was headed towards death. Morphine shut down everything inside me, I no longer had any hope, I was alone, on the streets and I had lost all of my dignity.
Today, after three years, returning home and being in front of you is a great joy for me. I am proud to be here and to be able to tell you that I have encountered the Lord. Three years ago, when I started the preparations to enter Community, my mother had to help me because I was not capable of standing on my own two feet and I am sure that my mother's faith gave me a new life. When I entered the Community it was difficult for me to trust anyone, because on the streets trust does not exist and my old life revolved only around drugs and my interests.
In this moment it comes to my mind how much time I spent in Vienna's train stations waiting for just one thing: heroin. Now, standing in front of you, I can say that my life has changed. Today I have a new life.
Once I was in absolute darkness while today I am here speaking about God. I have a desire in my heart: to tell all young people that there is hope, that hope exists and I encountered it in the Lord. I would not trade my life with anyone else's. I feel like the happiest girl in the world. In the Community I encountered love, truth and faith. Today I can thank God only, because when I was cold and hungry, He gave me his hand and brought me to the Community. My new life is a life full of surprises, of joy, light and hope. I thank the Lord, the Community, Mother Elvira, Father Stefano, and my family, who are all here today. New desires are being born in my heart, especially of one day having a Christian family full of hope and joy. Thank you.
Hi! My name is Florian, I am twenty-five years old, and I have been in the Community for three years. Like Katarina, I also had problems with heroin. I believe that everything began with my parent's divorce, which left me with a deep wound, from which I began to escape. I was afraid and I started to hide and close myself in my own world. I sought love in material things and I thought I found satisfaction in drugs. In the beginning, it was only entertainment, but then it became a way of escaping from who I was. I always wanted to be "more" than what I was, I was unable to accept myself. Around the age of fifteen, I started to use lighter drugs, and then I slowly moved on to heavier drugs, until I became dependent on heroin.
I had a girlfriend and we had a child together: in spite of this, I continued to fall deeper, realizing my incapacity to control the situation. I did not accept my condition but I did not have the strength to change anything. In little time, the world around me collapsed. My girlfriend was also an addict and we had difficulties with the social assistants. This was the first time that I told myself the truth: I needed help. Our son was a grace from God, because even if we were addicts, he never cried… he always smiled. His smile gave me the desire to do something for myself. Now I've been living in Community for three years and I am very happy to have taken this step, because Cenacolo brought me to God and gave me hope, the hope of becoming a good father for my son.
Hi! My name is Nora. I am twenty-five years old and from Vienna. I entered the Community two years ago. I am proud to be here and to show you how I have changed. I am a new person: not only on the outside but also inside.
I was an atheist and,for me, believing in God meant being weak. In the Community, I discovered that faith is the strength that allows you to admit that you are weak and that you need help. I entered the Community for various reasons. When I was twelve I started to feel an emptiness inside me. I had many doubts about myself: that I was not pretty enough, not intelligent or strong enough, that I was not like the other children, that I did not belong to anything or anyone and I was always alone. I went on a diet because I wanted to be thinner. It was a way to fill my emptiness. I thought that it would make me stronger, but it left me alone and depressed. I distanced myself from my family and with time things became more and more difficult for me, because I was afraid to socialize.
I started drinking and when I was eighteen things worsened with my parents' divorce. I wanted to be tough, I no longer wanted to feel anything…only to turn myself off, no longer be myself. I started to take pills, antidepressants and tranquilizers and here I was no longer able to go on. Thank God my father saw there was a problem. He took me to his home for one year and helped me very much. In the beginning, he took me to different therapies, at times I escaped, but he never gave up and asked me: "…what are we going to do now?". He never lost hope in me and in the end he offered me the Cenacolo Community . I was angry because I thought that my family wanted to send me to Italy only to keep me away from home. Everything seemed difficult, learning another language seemed impossible. I did not believe that all of this could help me. I had already "closed the door" to my heart. When my father left me in Community he told me: "If you return home in less that two weeks your life will truly become miserable". His words stayed with me, they woke me up and I stayed for this, because I knew that otherwise I did not have a future.
In the Community I learned to accept my past and start a new life, a life of love and hope, with people around me that really wanted to be my friends. Friends that told me the truth, that helped me to discover myself, that helped me through difficult moments, that were close to me when I wanted to isolate myself or when I was angry. This was something completely new for me.
Now I wish to have a pure heart wherever I am, I want to be sincere and capable of looking at people in their eyes. I want to be an instrument in God's hands, bringing peace to those without, especially the youth. I am very happy to be able to speak here in Austria in front of many young people that are already heading in the wrong direction. I only want to tell you to not go any further; react, do something, fight for happiness, come to the Community! There are many possibilities. I would like to thank everyone for coming and for giving yourselves the opportunity to become happier people. Thank you!