Since the end of February 2020, the whole world has faced the emergency caused by Covid-19, a situation that has called into question the way we deal with everyday life. Our gestures, actions and words have been strongly influenced by this drastic and sudden event. This has certainly hit the educational institution, which has searched for and found a new way of living in a very short time. Families, children, young people have been forced to change their habits and question their own certainties. The complexity of this period, which has forced us to a long quarantine and periods of isolation, has entailed limited physical contact and expression of our primordial need to feel part of a community, changing the way we live, but also the way we “feel one another”. The most complex challenge of this period has been to find new ways of welcoming and comforting.
‹‹I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH››
Every day, each one of us says his ‹‹Yes››, just as Mother Cabrini taught us, with obedience and faith. To be a teacher means to be a professional in didactics, education, pedagogy, and to make a difference in our students’ lives when we face the everyday challenges with Love. Surely nobody would have expected to face a pandemic. However, from the very first moment, our institute understood its mission: to be presence by trying to break down physical distancing and to rediscover the strength in the Love of God, which is essential to accompany children in their personal growth. The Cabrini Institute of Rome is located in a suburb of the capital city. Every day we welcome hundreds of children, aged 1 to 13, from nursery to lower secondary school, into our facility. The experience of God’s Love and the life led by Mother Cabrini teach us to accompany those entrusted to us day by day. As teachers and educators, what we impart every day overcomes physical distancing: our mission is based on the Cabrinian charism of educating heart through peace, persuasion and tolerance. Therefore, we try to get as close as possible to the hearts of the children and their families through our gestures of humanity and service, through outdoor community prayer and sometimes through communication platforms and video calls, by providing listening, comfort or just our presence. Those who participate in the activities of our institute are all an integral part of our community, albeit a small one. In this way, we try to rediscover the sense of union that we have partly had to abandon due to physical distancing.
‹‹TODAY LOVE MUST NOT BE HIDDEN. IT MUST BE LIVING, ACTIVE AND TRUE››
Our community identity and charism take charge of the need of children to feel welcomed and loved. During the distance learning, families were also involved in this circle that we tried to make virtuous at all costs: an interaction and collaboration between school and families was created. Through our missionary work as educators of the heart, we believe that it is necessary to make the school a place where not only you acquire skills, but also you grow humanly within a welcoming community, despite the obvious difficulties, according to the values of faith.
Written by Beatrice Saija, primary school teacher