Pope Francis published on March 18th, 2018 the Apostolic Exhortation “Guadete et exsultate” about the call to holiness in today’s world. In this document the Holy Father made an interesting reflection about the “saints next door”, encouraging us that when we talk about holiness in the Church we should not limit ourselves to thinking about the faithful that are beatified and canonized, because there are many more brothers and sisters of ours that have given us a witness of a bold faith and ardent charity that we may never see upon the altars. And there is nothing wrong with that. A few examplary lives are raised to the altars that can help us and be guides for us on our way to heaven. But, thanks be to God, in the Church there are so many more saints than just those that are officially named so by the Church. As Pope Francis says, “the Holy Spirit is pouring out holiness everywhere.”
The Church is reflecting upon these “next door saints” in a moment that places special emphasis upon the young people. It’s no coincidence that the next synod in October of 2018 will reflect upon the youth, as it rapidly approaches the World Youth Day in Panama.
In this context the Asociación Don Zilli and the St. Paul Cultural Center along with the support of the Pauline Editor, have suggested an exhibition called “Young witnesses of the faith. Next door saints” whose content has been agreed to by the National Service for youth ministry, part of the Italian Bishop’s conference. You can see this on their official Facebook page.
The exhibition has 32 panels and presents the lives of 24 young “witnesses of the faith” whose stories irradiate enthusiasm for Christ. Some of the young people are Blesseds or Servants of God, but the majority are apparently “normal” young people that stand out for their faith. The goal of the exhibition is to make all of us, but overall the youth, aware of the call to holiness. The stories of these young people are presented in a modern language with fascinating graphics because “the Christian faith, says the organizers of the exhibition, works by the power of attraction.
Since the exhibition was originally thought out to go through Italy, the majority of the young witnesses of faith are Italian. There are only 3 non-Italians and only one religious: Sr. Clare Crockett, Ireland. How did Sr. Clare get there? She got there because of a man named Gerolamo Fazzini, in charge of promoting the exhibition, journalist, author, and board member of the magazine Credere published by the Pauline Editorial. Ever since Gerolamo Fazzini heard about Sr. Clare’s story he was so impressed that he re-did the project that was already closed for the exhibition just to add Sr. Clare into it. As a summary of Sr. Clare’s life, he wrote on her panel “Clare Crockett. From actress to nun, seduced by Christ.”
It is already confirmed that the exhibition of “Young witnesses of the faith, next door saints” will be showing in Rome during Pope Francis’ encounter with the Italian youth on August 11 and 12th, 2018, an encounter that was organized by the Italian Bishop’s Conference. For more information visit this link.
The presentation of the exhibition coincides with the showing of the documentary of Sr. Clare’s life in Italian. If you would like to know more about requesting a showing of the documentary please visit this link.
We would like to take advantage of this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude to Gerolamo Fazzini for allowing Sr. Clare to continue to challenge our young people to give “All or nothing.” For more information about the exhibition please visit the official Facebook page and the website for Youth Ministry of the Italian Bishop’s Conference
Sr. Beatriz Liaño, S.H.M.