Jone and Carras

"A sweet Companionship"

Jone Echarri's letter to friends of the movement after the death of her husband Carras: “I am serene and confident. I ask you to continue to accompany me."

Dear friends, I do not want to miss this opportunity to briefly share with you what I have experienced over the past few weeks. As you know, Carras went into A&E on November 27 and died on January 9 after receiving the Sacraments. It has been 39 days of extraordinary intensity.

When his neurologist informed him of the seriousness of his diagnosis and his life expectancy (three months), Carras was silent and the doctor wanted to make sure he had understood correctly. He replied: “Yes. The holy event.”

A friend of ours from the Gruppo Adulto, thinking about how to accompany us, asked several priests to come and celebrate mass at our home. It was moving to see how they organised themselves during all those days so that we never missed Mass or company. Carras was fully aware, going so far as to say at the beginning of one of the masses: “Christ is something real, not an idea. You can even eat him.”

For him, the mass was a support, a vital moment, so much so that he asked several times a day when the next celebration would be. It was the gesture that gave meaning to the day for him. One of the priests, at the end of Mass, moved by what he saw happening, said to him: “Carras, what a beautiful companionship you have.” And he replied: “A sweet companionship.”

This sweet companionship was also translated into concrete and very necessary gestures in daily life. Those who came to visit us were true children who cared for a father to the end. In particular, our friends and neighbours, the Memores Domini, and some friends who have been carefully and discreetly helping us for months with food, shopping and errands. I cannot help but thank all the medical staff, from the neurologist to the palliative care doctor and the nurse who came to the house and was instrumental in keeping Carras and all of us who were with him company.

The decisive step in the life of all people, the step towards the ultimate Destiny, I am sure was a truly 'sweet' step for two reasons: on the one hand, because Carras was helped to live his illness serenely; on the other hand, because from the very beginning he entrusted himself to the plan of Another, to the Father's plan.

He never protested or complained about the decline in his physical faculties. He retained his positivity and sense of humour that always characterised him and never abandoned him. He never lost his joy and lived grateful for everything he saw happening around him.

But this did not only happen to Carras: several people who visited us, and who do not participate in our history, were impressed and said: “What is happening here is from another world.”

Faced with this spectacle of freedom that was put into play in the face of a circumstance, it was beautiful to see the awareness he had. He never stopped saying, “How lucky we have been.” As Javier Prades told us at the funeral, the last thing he heard Carras say was: “Thank you.” And it is the word we too have heard said most often in recent weeks.

Throughout this time, Carras lived with a radical concern and desire for the unity of the movement. To whoever came to visit him, he would insist on this: “The most important thing we must guard is the unity of the movement. I know that unity comes from the Holy Spirit, but we have the task of guarding it.”

After his death, the people who came to see me or wrote to me did not say “I am close to you in sorrow,” but “thank you, thank you.” They told me facts and judgements I had never heard. For me, the hours of the wake were not formal: I listened to everything in amazement and was especially moved to see people who, no longer participating in our history, had come to say goodbye to Carras.

Other aspects that I would like to emphasise are the beauty and silence that could be perceived both in the funeral chamber and at the funeral, both of which were celebrated in appropriate spaces thanks to the availability of the respective parish priests. The flowers, the setting, the songs, the care for the liturgy, the order... Everything recalled an ultimate Beauty. A Beauty for which we are all made, including the undertaker who, provoked by what he saw, decided to participate in the funeral Mass.

I am also grateful for the participation of many Italian friends, including those who will be attending next Saturday; I know that they have many commitments and appreciate their presence even more at this time. In particular, I would like to thank Davide Prosperi for his affection and closeness.

As you can imagine, given the speed with which events have unfolded, I need time and silence to cherish everything I have experienced, as I did after my illness. The only thing I can say right now is that I am serene and confident. These are the words that define me.

I cannot respond to the overabundance of your affection in the form of messages, photos, testimonies, emails, phone calls... I thank you again and ask you to write to me at the email that the secretary of the movement has set up for me:

To conclude, I would like to communicate to each one of you, one by one, that I am enormously grateful for the most practical aspects, for your demonstrations of affection and especially for your company in prayer, of which I receive news from all over the world. I was very moved to see how Masses are being celebrated for Carras in so many countries. I ask you to continue to accompany me on this new journey that begins today: it is the greatest gesture of affection we can have for one another. I too pray for you.

In communion,