Castro Chacussanga’s journey to self-discovery. A journey that unexpectedly led him to Loppiano where he attended the Focolarini formation school.
«I would like to tell you the story of a boy born in Angola in 1993, in a war context. The war started because his country had held elections for the first time and there were those who had not accepted the result of this election, saying that it had not been free, fair and transparent». Thus, Castro Chacussanga began his story last May 1st, from the stage of the Auditorium of Loppiano, during the live broadcast that inaugurated the United World Week. «The war ended when this boy was 9 years old. At the age of 15, his father was poisoned and died at only 45, because someone wanted to take his place as the person responsible in the office of the Ministry of Finance of the territory». As the narration progresses, the truth slowly emerges, and a wave of emotion envelops the audience watching the program: Castro is not an actor and the guy he is talking about is himself. Sitting on the floor, on stage, he continues the story of the tragic events of which his family was a victim, following the death of his father: the mother who alone has to take care of 9 children; the persecution of the court and the process necessary to defend their rights; the strong depression that seizes the woman after the victory of the trial, which however guarantees her a future for her children; her death, only ten years ago; the difficulty of growing up and studying, overcoming the obstacles of bureaucracy and certain corruption.
Meeting him outside the Auditorium of the citadel, on a sunny day, Castro Chacussanga strikes us as someone with a sure pace and the serene tenderness depicted in his smile. There is nothing formal or done only out of courtesy, but something real and natural that springs from inside of him. Perhaps all these are a result of a choice to forgive the persecutors of his family, made many years before and that, he and his brothers, continue to renew every year: “In December, in the days close to the death of our parents, before Christmas, we meet together and renew a pact of forgiveness. We ask that Jesus be born again in our hearts and that these be an appropriate place at his birth».
Today, he is thirty, he has lived in Loppiano for a little over a year, and he is an economist. In the citadel he attends the formation school for focolarini.
«I was born into a Christian family that taught us to put God first. And I am sure that this choice saved my life», he confides. He then adds,”I knew the spirituality of Chiara Lubich when I was about 15 years old. She proposed that we become a generation of saints. I felt that it was something that I could live only together with the friends with whom I shared this experience».
In Castro, the call to holiness is closely linked to his vocation for the economy. «In my country of origin – he says – it is very common to find situations of pain. And in these situations everyone feels the desire to do something. One of the reasons I chose to study economics was this. I felt it could be a medicine for the social problems my country was experiencing. Today I am an economist, but not of any economy, but of the “Economy of Francesco”. That is, an economy that puts man at the center and, in particular, the poorest».
In his journey of growth, he explains, there were moments of darkness: «Of those who lead you to think that everything “began in me and ended in me”: in which an egocentric vision of the world prevailed, which made me become a slave of myself and lose peace. Or like the pandemic, during which, however, I also found hope, the sense of God and my faith».
Despite all the difficulties, pains and hardships he experienced, Castro says he felt, at a certain point, the desire to give his whole life to God. «And to the brothers and sisters that I find every day of my life – he specifies -. Thus the meaning of my name, “Chacussanga” is realized, which means: God has found you».