A wonderful smile

5 May 2015 | Borlone Renata, Life

Countless facts testify to the special gift that Renata was and continues to be for those who come to know her. Here is a brief episode from her biography “A silence that is life,” by G. Marchesi and A. Zirondoli (Citta’ Nuova Ed.).

One day, when Renata went about putting the dining room in order, she shook the tablecloth out the window and a napkin fell on the balcony of the apartment below.

She ran down immediately, rang the doorbell and the door was opened by an elderly, distinguished and serious gentleman whom she had sometimes met – and greeted – on the staircase. “A napkin fell on your balcony, could I get it back?” “Certainly, go right ahead,” was the reply.

Then, just as Renata was leaving, the gentleman asked her, “Can you tell me, Miss, the reason for your wonderful smile?” Renata was a bit in a hurry and, in addition, that flattering question made her uncomfortable. Then she remembered that she had entrusted this man, who was always serious every time she met him, to Jesus. She thought that perhaps he might have intuited something of the life she was trying to live.

And a bit self-conscious, she said, “I’m happy because I have found an ideal more beautiful and greater than one can dream of. I found God and for him I left everything: parents, studies, home. I live with some companions who have discovered the same ideal and we try to share with everyone the love of Jesus that we have experienced.” The man listened attentively and then greeted her saying, “Thank you and best wishes.”

A few days later, a young priest knocked at their door looking for “a smiling lady who spoke to the gentleman downstairs.” Shyly Renata came forward. “I am the son of the man who lives below and I want to thank you for the encounter you had with my father a few days ago. After Mom died, I felt the call to become a priest. My father did not understand my choice and when I entered the seminary he broke off all contact with me, refusing even to see me. Many years have passed since then, but the other day, after that brief conversation with you, he asked me to come and see him. He told me that because of your wonderful smile he understood my vocation and now felt the urge to reconcile with me.

Evidently, through your witness, God revealed himself to my father.”

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