Freetown, Sierra Leone. Wikimedia Commons

A Clear Gaze

The testimony of Ernest Sesay, from Sierra Leone at the International Council of CL Responsibles in La Thuile, Italy.
Ernest Sesay

I am Ernest from Sierra Leone. For me, the Movement’s growth is a mystery, and since we cannot understand a mystery, we shall never be able to give a reason for this growth. But the mystery of this growth has passed through a form, and the form is Fr Giussani.

I always dreamt of being great, of having a great university degree, but Fr Berton, who sent me to Italy, told me, “Go live, encounter, learn what CL people do.” I went, and after living a friendship with this great community, I returned to Sierra Leone. My life was completely changed; now I try to live what I learned with my wife and the families of the Family Homes Movement, founded by Fr Berton.

Growth is really an encounter. For example, when Franco Nembrini came to Sierra Leone for the second time to define the question of the school with AVSI, what they want to do there, we had an assembly attended by the head of the lawyers in Sierra Leone (a great man), and Undersecretary of the President of Sierra Leone was also three; it was a very formal meeting. While I was explaining what I had lived in Italy, I mentioned Fr Giussani’s name; the lawyer stopped me immediately and said, “Explain to me what Fr Giussani’s charism is.” For me, this was the whole issue. Nembrini helped me explain who Fr Gius is and what his charism is. The lawyer was very interested in understanding more about this man.

In the office I have just opened for furthering AVSI projects and the one of the school in collaboration with “La Traccia” (a school complex in the province of Bergamo, Italy), there is a Muslim girl. The first thing I taught her is to recite the Angelus, because it is one of the greatest things I have learned, and I once said to her, “You can come pray with us.” After a month, she asked Fr Berton to write some prayers so that she can learn them.

I thank the people who have made me become a man who can share what I have lived in Italy also in Africa. They are so many–like Alberto Piatti, Nembrini, Arturo Alberti, Fr Mauro… there are so many of them, and they have made me grow up; they have made a man out of me. This is why we have to submit to the will of God.