The last three weeks have been crammed with home visits, a high school graduation, a baby shower for a niece's on-the-way grandson, trips to Virginia and Pennsylvania, and a chance to seemany of my relatives. As soon as I returned from vacation late last Monday (my sister and I were both delayed at the Pittsburgh airport due to stormy weather), I had voice mail messages to answer. One was from an Italian-Canadian gentleman in regard to the visit of Sister Filippa Castronovo. Sister is an Italian Daughter of St. Paul who is a Biblical scholar, and an expert in Pauline studies. As you know "Pauline" studies refers to St. Paul the Apostle and his writings. When I spent a year in Rome (2003--2004) Sister Filippa was our professor for an entire semester on St. Paul and Blessed Alberione.
When I heard that Sister was scheduled to give retreats in June and July at oujr Boston convent, the thought came to me that she "has to come to Torontowhere there are so many Itlians." There is a saying that Toronto, Canada has the largest number of Italians outside of the city of Rome. There are about a half a million Italian immigrants in and around the Greater Toronto Area. With just a few days between retreats, we were able to book Sister to speak in Italian on St. Paul in our St. Paul Hall. Since it is the first time in a very long time that we held any Italian events here, I was not sure if anyone would show up.
My little faith was bolstered when I answered the first voice mail. The caller is head of a Scilian Canadian association. His group broadcasts on radio about once a month. "Could Sister Filippa speak on radio on Wednesday evening the 25th of June?" I replied that as long as weather permitted, and transportation would be provided we would be there. So began a truly whirlwind tour of Toronto. After her first radio talk, our host drove us to see some of downtown Toronto. Sister was amazed at how big out city is. On Thursday we had an appointment to speak for two hours on Radio Teopoli which broadcasts in Italian and then in English on an AM station. There was a slight mix-up: I understood that Sr. Filippa would be "live" for the first hour, then be recorded in Italin for another day. Instead, as the program got underway, we were informed that we were the guests for the English portion. Since Sister does not speak English, that meant I was to go "live" too. As Sister spoke I jotted down some facts about St. Paul, and the Daughters of St. Paul, etc. Our Patron St.Paul certainly helped us to produce a program which seemed fine to me. I pray our listeners were inspired in some way to read St. Paul's letters, to imitate his evangelical attitude, and to learn from him to pray. His letters are a treasure of prayer.
Tonight Canada celebrates its 141st anniversary and I am acceping an invitation to watch the fireworks from a neighbors 19th floor apartment.
May your Year of St. Paul be full of blessings.