The first American house of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo is in Denver, Colorado. Sr. Eleonora Ceresoli talks about the beginnings of this mission.

Our presence in the United States began on Sept. 5, 2015, when Sr. Elena and Sr. Maria Anna departed on the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta. A little less than a year later, Sr. Patrizia and I also arrived in Broomfield.

It is beautiful to live conscious that we are laying the foundations of our first house of mission in America. A bit of time is naturally necessary to understand God’s will, the vocation of this house, and what He is asking each one of us in particular.

During our first few months here we immediately found that extra time for prayer, silence, and adoration were necessary to help us to conceive of our time as dictated by a liturgical rhythm and not by the world’s rhythms. This allows us to dedicate a lot of energy and space to the communion among us and to develop relationships with the people who seek us out.

Right from the start we wanted to begin drawing from the richness of the life our brother priests had already been living, from their experience, and from their judgments. A very beautiful moment for us is our monthly lunch with Fr. Michael Carvill, who has lived in America for 28 years. He offered us his availability to answer our questions, tell us about the beginnings of the mission in the United States, and help us look at everything in a more complete, adequate way. We also asked if they could recommend us things to read that could help us get to know better this people to whom we have been sent, to deepen our understanding of American culture and history, and to get to know the saints who have walked on this land. From Washington, Fr. Pietro Rossotti sent us a list of texts to read, ranging from Flannery O’Connor’s literature to The History of the American People.

No less important is the time we use to study English. During these first few months here we are embracing with much humility being a presence still incapable of fully communicating in the way we would desire everything we hold in our hearts. To introduce us gradually to this new world, we have been collaborating with the priests of the Fraternity of St. Charles in the parish entrusted to them. We visit the sick in their homes and in hospices, sharing our time with them in a simple way, for long periods of time. We have the privilege of witnessing many hearts open up to God, draw near to the Catholic Church, or begin to desire to enter and be part of it.

Moreover, we participate in the educational proposal offered to the group of middle school level students (The Venturers of the Star) and in the two groups dedicated to high school students. We teach catechism one afternoon a week and we participate in the parish choir. We enjoy spending a lot of time with the families, both those who belong to the CL movement present in the parish as well as those persons we meet in a simple way after daily mass.

One of the most beautiful experiences for us has been welcoming others in our home. A few short weeks ago we opened a small and cozy chapel right in our house, where we can invite others to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Moreover, we have an unbeatable missionary tool: Sr. Patrizia’s homemade pizza. I borrow the words of St. Bernard’s father to describe these first few months on mission: “We have discovered that God placed us in this tiny corner of the universe, with the singular purpose of rendering this tiny corner beautiful in his eyes.”

America was not originally on my short list of hypotheses for my missionary destination when I entered the House of Formation. And yet being in the precise place God chose for me fills me with real joy, excitement, and child-like boldness that accompanies building the foundations of a new house for God in the world.

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