Rosetta Brambilla (© Obras Educativas Padre Giussani)

Belo Horizonte: A name and a story

In the heart of Brazil since 1967, Rosetta Brambilla retraces what has happened since those first years of mission: the preschools, the educational centers, working with families…works that "would not exist if I had not met Fr. Giussani".

What I learned as a young person doing charitable work with Fr. Giussani - sharing life, giving myself, recognizing Christ in reality - is what I live today. Charity is about educating us to understand how God has shared our needs. It is not to solve people's problems, but to share ourselves.

What I live today was already present then! What I do today already existed then! I am not trained as an educator, but when I arrived in the Primeiro de Maio neighborhood, at Fr. Pigi Bernareggi's house, I got involved with the community and visited the families. Being with them I realized that the children went straight to school without attending preschool, because there were no preschools in the community. So I asked my friend Helena if she would agree to participate in this adventure of starting a small preschool. We did not stop at the fact that we had no pedagogical training. We responded to reality in our condition. We called an educator and a collaborator, and then began the work.

With time, the number of preschools grew and after a few years there were four of them, a home, as well as educational centers and a sports center. Our charism, our history, our work with families and children... This work was born to communicate the gaze that is inside me, of which I am made and that I wish to share. That is why our name is "Obras Educativas Padre Giussani", because it refers to our origin, our history, our face.

These works would not exist if I had not met Fr. Giussani. I could not have chosen any other name. I once gave him a picture of two young people painting the gate of the preschool and said, "These are your children...". And he wrote on the back of the picture, "You truly are my children in the story of the Lord." As his presence has sustained my yes all these years; his testimony sustains each of us, his children in the Lord. The name of the work is much more than a tribute. It is the recognition of Fr. Giussani's paternity and of the presence of another world within this world.

Rosetta, Belo Horizonte, Brazil