Silvia in Parintins

Brazil: friendship along the river

A few days of vacation are an opportunity for Silvia to go to the Amazon to visit some friends who had ignited curiosity in her. This is what she brought home from Parintins.

I am just finishing my holidays and this morning – it was a flash – I remembered what Fr. Giussani said about the use of free time, as a sign of what we hold dearest in life. So I realized, without planning anything, that my holidays had made my desire and the depth of my question grow. I cannot recount everything that happened, so I will limit myself to some small details, which surprised me completely.

Almost three years ago, I was given a flight to Manaus as a gift. I finally used it. I had the idea of making the most of the trip and to visit Parintins. Today, visiting the Amazon has become “trendy”, but the reason why I decided to go arose from some unexpected encounters, for example with Geralda and Globery, whom I met last year in São Paulo at the CdO forum. I was very intrigued by Globery, 35 years old, who came to São Paulo in slippers. He has a heart and such a deep sensitivity that are so corresponding …Where does someone like that "come from"? It must be because he is a great friend and “son” of Fr. Giuliano Frigeni (Bishop of Parintins). To pursue this curiosity of mine, I went to this island in the middle of the Amazon with my mother.

The three days spent in Parintins with them, and other friends, were of an incredible beauty and intensity. I was able to help them organize the Educational Center’s summer holidays, load and drive a kombi, clean, sing, listen to their life experiences, learn countless names of fish and fruits, contemplate the river during a full moon and listen to the sound of various birds from a canoe, in the silence of the river. I also participated in Mass, listening to the indigenous children sing... It made me think of the film Mission. These are just some of the moments that made me experience my humanity in a happier, simpler, fuller way.

One afternoon, whilst looking up at the sky and its white, "full" clouds, I realized that those friends and the grandeur of nature awoke in me such a longing for Jesus. No words could describe my gratitude, only silence was adequate. My heart rests in Him.

Silvia, São Paulo, Brazil