Brazil: Beauty and pain go together

The story of eight friends, a young Fraternity group in São Paulo Fraternity, and what they are experiencing thanks to Andressa's testimony... If "the finiteness of life is not the end".

During this time that we are living, the pandemic, it is as if there were a magnifying glass inside every experience. Everything becomes urgent. And the search for beauty becomes necessary in order to live reality in an intense and true way. Little by little, we begin to understand that life really "happens": in the experience nothing is spared, everything is part of an Event.

We are eight friends living together an experience of pain and beauty, and we know that it is not transient, it is something that marks us forever. Our story began in April 2020 when we decided to live the Christian faith in a Fraternity group of Communion and Liberation; without understanding everything or already knowing everything, but one step at a time, and with the desire to undertake a journey towards true life. From that moment on, all meetings were marked by the same desire for life, by the questions that reality posed us, by uncertainties and, above all, by certainties. We began to pray together every day, albeit online, since we were in complete isolation, at the height of the pandemic here in São Paulo.

After a little less than two months, we were surprised by the news that one of us, our dear Andressa, was not well. Tests quickly confirmed her diagnosis: leukemia. The doctors said that it had been discovered at an early stage, that she would start treatment immediately and not have to worry too much. Since then, we have offered our daily Rosary as a gesture, asking for her healing.

Andressa got to know the movement through Fr. Aurélio and her friend Angélica, while she was preparing for Confirmation. She experienced GS, then the CLU, the university students of CL, at the University of São Paulo, where she graduated in Tourism. Just before she fell ill, she began working at Beneficência Portuguesa Hospital. She wanted to be close to people in their suffering, to make the patients' experience better. Her being close to people, in a very free way, was a characteristic of hers.

When we learned of her illness, the question of how we could help her exploded in us: how could we be close and present for her? So many ideas came up: taking flowers to her in hospital, music, movies, a video of the seven of us singing one of her favorite songs, Eu vou by Tim Bernardes: "I will run towards the many beautiful things I yearn for"... Andressa loved being with family and friends, enjoying being young and the freedom to be herself; she loved music, movies, documentaries on World War II, Russian literature. She had the face of a "little doll", but an attentive and penetrating gaze, with which she conveyed all her interest in you.

On social media, after the first round of treatment, she wrote: "God has always been very good to me. And it is no different now, I have no doubt. I finish the first part of this journey with the certainty of being watched and loved at all times by Him and by the angels who are here on earth – some of which I have met in the last month! - who have never abandoned me." Her trust in God was amazing. As we became more intimate and got to know her more, it became more and more apparent to us that her life was and is a Mystery to us. During this time with her, there were beautiful days, days when we celebrated small advances, when we were grateful to be able to see or hear her: she would participate in evening prayer and introduce us to the nurses on duty. And there were also difficult days, when we saw all the pain, when we laid bare all the fragility of our lives, the pain of the finiteness of being.

Read also - "I began to ask myself: who am I?"

The more things got worse, the more we asked for the miracle of healing. But the miracle was already happening: the gift of our beloved friend's life and the peace with which she lived.

Now Andressa stands before the face of Christ, she died on January 19, a month before she turned 25.

She has gone and left us with an even deeper desire to continue to "point towards faith and row," as she always said. In us, the certainty remains that she accompanies us and intercedes for us with the Father. In sorrow, we realize that we have a friend who guides us with her authority: she testifies to our trust in Destiny, she makes us look at and live even sorrow with the desire to go into the very depths, down to the details. How beautiful it is to have a friendship like this! Andressa's life helps us understand that pain and beauty go together, and the finiteness of life is not the end.

Catarina, João, Juliana, Karen, Madalena, Thiago and Ricardo, São Paulo, Brazil