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My name is Pamela; I am twenty-six years old and I come from Sicily. Even if I come from a traditionally Christian family like many others, I was an atheist before being in Community; I didn’t believe in anything but my human strength. I am the oldest of four girls; and beginning from when I was a child, I was timid and introverted. My mother was always very nervous, and my father was never there; both were always working so that we could have everything. Thanks to God there was my grandmother; I attribute the best memories of childhood to her, when we spent summers at her house. She was vey present with our needs and was the first to speak with me about Jesus. As the years passed our family atmosphere became heavy because there were many economic problems as well as fights between my parents, and a sense of blame and anxiety was always growing inside of me. I felt responsible for everything bad that was happening to them. At school I lived a lot of inferiority, and I compared our family with those of my friends. I lived the anger of humiliation, and I sought attention to make myself feel accepted. I was very false and unprepared to confront life. At home there were many “taboos;” I didn’t have discussions, and I hid behind material things, until the day in which the impact with the outside world made me curious - I was attracted and seduced by all the “lights” of the world. When I was fourteen my parents separated, and that was “the drop that overflowed the vase” because from that point on my adventure into the darkness began. Inside of me a strong rebellion exploded that I was masking with appearances; I crushed my sufferance of having lost my family by taking drugs, beginning to smoke marijuana and hashish and falling into dependence on alcohol and cocaine. I felt sad and empty.  Without my father at home, life seemed over to me. I was very attached to him, and the abandonment made me reject myself, so much so that I felt incapable in everything. In front of my friends I was full of “masks”: clothes, money… everything, in order to feel accepted, loved, and wanted. I was convinced that one could buy love, and all this world of illusions, dreams, and escapes from reality, brought me little by little closer to dying. Also the problems of the homeless and the mafia of my land made me suffer, they were the causes of depression in a lot of people that I knew; thus, I began to hate Sicily.  I wanted to erase my origins, and I profited off an encounter with a boy and escaped to England. Still full of illusions, false and “toxic” in my thoughts, I had the courage to feel “okay.” In England I fell into the tunnel of heroin that brought me straight to hell. Today I am sure someone prayed for me because, by touching the bottom, the desperation made me ask for help.
Thus I entered Community, even if I was so false as to think that I was helping my boyfriend quit! But in Community everything that was dark began to have color again.  I came to know the truth; I didn’t know what it might have been, but when it was said, all my masks and illusions crumbled. It was the path to encounter God, Jesus in the Eucharist, by kneeling in silence in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Jesus brought me to forgive my past, to trust in the others and to accept myself for who I am, to overcome every fear, to fight and discover the true values of life, like friendship, feeling someone close that encourages you, that forgives you, that respects you, and that gives you strength and hope. I am very grateful to God and to Mary; for more than two years I have been in the house in Lourdes, and I feel that the Madonna helps me come closer - above all during tribulations - to Jesus in order to re-discover my femininity and maternity, to be a woman capable of giving away her life for others. I don’t want to think about myself any longer. I want to give myself to those who have need without putting limits because today I have a discovered that life has an immense value. I desire to serve he who suffers more than me; my heart needs this to heal: the little choices and the little, concrete “YES” of everyday.

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