"Grateful, even for my weakness"From Ireland to Korea to rediscover the faith she had abandoned over the years. Kerrie recounts her story and her dramas, and about that "door" that opened in her encounter with Fr. Giussani and the movement.
I was born in Ireland and now live in Korea. As a young girl I began to drift away from the faith of my childhood; what I heard at Mass seemed alien to my life. Gradually, I stopped going to church and praying. When I did it was only as a sign of respect for my parents' tradition.
Two years after the birth of my first child, I had a miscarriage in my third month of pregnancy. I went through it alone because my husband was abroad. I buried my baby's remains in a quiet place in a public park since we did not have a garden. I was very angry and wondered, "Why did this happen? Why allow a life to begin and let me hear his heartbeat?" I hated it when I heard people thank God for this and that. What people thank Him for, I thought, can develop into a kind of tragic prank. Whatever was left of my old faith was now extinguished. I was in terrible darkness. For years I had told myself that only weakness and loneliness drove people to find consolation in the idea of God.
Yet I could not sleep well. The issue of God gave me no respite. One night when I could not get to sleep, I felt my heart beating wildly. I was unable to think, at the same time, about the good I wanted for my children and the idea that everything could end in nothingness. Then I asked God to answer me: "Do you exist or not?" It was like frantically knocking, but no one opening the door.
Then in 2020 my mother died, and I could not get back to Ireland for the funeral because of the pandemic. I followed it online, alone. As the mass began, I heard the words being said as if I had never heard them before in my life. For the first time I had the feeling that they were directly addressed to me. I had never realized the beauty of the Mass, and from that day I began to participate in it online daily. It was the only moment I felt a little peace. But I also had to be honest with myself: my questions remained unanswered. I started searching on the internet and talking to Christian friends. There was something that kept me from participating in the life of a Christian community. The Christianity I knew seemed imbued with a kind of "toxic positivity." It did not seem like something where my questions, doubts and struggle could find a place. Christians gave me the impression of being an exclusive, elitist and arrogant club.
I asked the priest in my hometown in Ireland for help, and he recommended some texts by Fr. Luigi Giussani that he thought might help me. Among them was a passage entitled Simon, do you love me? I was so impressed by it that I wanted to know everything this Italian priest had to say. In what he wrote there was a deep sincerity and a great compassion for the person.
Soon after, I started connecting to School of Community meetings on Zoom with Korean and Japanese people to learn more about his teachings. But I have discovered much more. I met a group of people who sincerely share the difficulties of life and try to find God within their hardships and limitations. It is a place where "every limit opens towards an infinite reality," as one of my new friends told me. In Generating Traces in the History of the World there is this passage, "Man must always feel, sincerely and humbly, that he is searching. [...] He who deceives himself into thinking that he has already found everything and has nothing new to discover risks discarding along his way the very encounters that can be the most meaningful." At the Seoul School of Community I found sincere and kind companions in my life and search.
The faith of my childhood crumbled in the face of life's difficulties. My adult faith, the faith I have today, rests on the fact that I am too weak to go at it alone. I used to look at this weakness with disdain. But now I am grateful for it. It reminds me of what I really need. You cannot find what you are not looking for. You do not seriously look for something if you do not need it. I started desperately seeking God because I need Him. That does not mean that I have all the answers, but my fellow School of Community friends are accompanying me on this journey.
Kerrie, Daegu, South Korea#100Testimonies