Iím happy to tell you my story because now I know that it was the key to open my heart to Godís Mercy which gave me the strength to change. My name is Nora, Iím 28 and Iím from Wien ,in Austria. I entered the Community because I didnít accept and love myself. When I was a teenager I felt a deep void inside which turned into anorexia. In a short while I felt isolated from everything and everybody, I lived in a world of my own and it found it difficult to live imprisoned in my body. I was very hard to myself while I felt fragile and lost with the others., I didnít consider myself intelligent, nice and strong like the other girls. I felt far from my family and socializing became harder and harder . I also started with alcohol and things got worse with my parentsí divorce when I was 18. I wanted to be tough, I didnít want to feel grievancies, fears, uncertainties ,I didnít want to feel guilty .I took anti depressant pills and, as a consequence, I fell into darkness . Thanks God my father and his girlfriend saw me and helped me during the year I spent with them. I refused my fatherís help but he didnít let me down. When he proposed the Cenacolo Community to me I got angry: in my opinion he wanted to get rid of me, but I had no choice so I tried. Everything was hard: the life with many girls, religion, learning ItalianÖbut the hardest challenge was renouncing to my addictions. I had closed the door to hope so I didnít believe in any type of help. When my father left me in the Community he said to me: ĒIf you come back home your life will really be hell.Ē His words were a shock .
In a short while the lifestyle of the Community, the reciprocal love ,taking care of each otherís needs touched me very much and I wanted to be part of this family. Before I was an atheist because believing in God meant to be weak, on the contrary I have learnt that Faith makes you strong: it allows you to say that you are poor and you need help to live. The first time I saw the girls standing up during lunch to say that they had done something wrong, like stealing something, I was amazed :I really admired their courage to get rid of the rubbish their lies were. I had never been able to face problems or to tell the truth. After six months I wrote to my father to tell him I wanted to stay, I wanted to choose life. After a while I knew that he had received my letter the very day my boyfriend committed suicide. To me it was a shock but it made me understand that we are free to choose for good and this fact showed me how my life might have ended.
Sharing helped me a lot :speaking with my sisters, asking for their advice, believing in their generous friendship, and doing sacrifices with and for them freed me from my selfishness.
It was also very helpful to see the hope the other girls got from prayer and the impossibility to understand the greatness of God with my mind only really fascinated me. It was good to feel little before Him and in need of His Mercy. I learnt to look for Him and to tell myself the truth any time I felt negative and ashamed of not being perfect. I thank the Community and all the people who believed in my change, in particular the girl who was my ďGuardian AngelĒ and who shared my struggle at the beginning.