Remember to look up

by Lorenzo Piccoli


Saint Paulina was born in Vigolo Vattaro, a small village a few kilometres away from my hometown. I got to know about her existence only a few weeks ago. She was one of the thousands people who, around 1890 emigrated to Brazil. There she became a nun, taking care of orphans, the children of slaves, and aged slaves who had been left to die because they could no longer work. In 1909, Mother Paulina was removed from her duties as Superior General by Duarte Leopoldo e Silva, Archbishop of São Paulo, following a series of disputes within the congregation. In 1938 her health began a long, slow decline as she was affected by diabetes. After two operations, first her middle finger and then her right arm were amputated. She spent the last months of her life totally blind. However, according to the chronicles, she was always positive. When people asked her how she could do, she replied: “Any time I feel lost, I do not look to the past, or to the future. I just look up“. Even for those who do not believe in God this is an inspiring image. Rather than keeping the eyes always on your material achievements, sometimes it is just as important to look at your principles and some deeper values that give us a sense to be.

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