Ilaria lecturing

Basel: "Why are you asking me?"

Just before the pandemic, Ilaria found out she was pregnant but that the wife of her PhD student had miscarried. Amid the drama, a dialogue emerged that allowed her to re-discover what allows her to face any circumstance certain and happy.

Shortly before the pandemic, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. Around the same time, the wife of one of my PhD students also became pregnant. I actually found out when they had already lost the baby and he had to ask me for a couple of days off. He looked so upset, I could not help but ask him if something had happened. He told me that he wanted to take time off to be with his wife who had just had a miscarriage.

After a few weeks, I announced my pregnancy to the group of students working with me. I felt a little uneasy about doing this, but I did not avoid looking him in the face. Four weeks later, we went into lockdown.

In April, at the end of an online meeting, he shyly asked me if he could ask me something personal: “Would you, knowing that everything that is happening would happen, do it again? Would you bring a child into the world again?" I immediately realised the scope of his question. I could not have answered him with words, they would never have convinced him and they would not have convinced me either. His question hurt me too. And I could not escape it. Thus I found myself asking him if for him this urgency – which the pandemic and the loss of the child had perhaps made more acute and conscious – was not, like it was for me, basically the same urgency with which we begin every day. How did he live even before the pandemic? What did he strive or struggle for at work? How did he decide to spend the rest of his life with his wife? I was answering him with other questions. I began to ask myself these same questions in order to continue my journey.

The dialogue that ensued continued to keep me company and invited me to be more aware during my days.

That is why, on another occasion, I asked my student why he had asked me that question. "Because there are not many people to whom one can ask such a question". What did he see in me to be able to say that? Someone who could accommodate his question, his need.

Read also - Bratislava: "Our encounter with Francis"

I realised that I enter into circumstances certain, ultimately happy, but only because I am continually being seized by Jesus. I am filled with gratitude. The further I go and remain in the movement, following the paternity of Fr. Carrón, the more I realise that every circumstance, every day, is an opportunity to become aware of what is capable of regenerating and allowing my heart, my humanity and my intelligence to grow. I fall into forgetfulness, and yet Jesus continually picks me up (perhaps through a student's question), reminding me how attractive He is.

Ilaria, Basel, Switzerland