About 30 young people from 16 countries are arriving in Loppiano to take part in the Focolare Movement’s “Gen School” for youth formation. We find out about their experience from Karlita Emperatriz Villabos Hernandez, a Salvadoran, who participated in the 2022-2023 School.
“In Loppiano, I discovered that there are so many people who want to work so that the world can be more united and fraternal,” recounts Karlita, a 24-year-old from El Salvador, still enthusiastic.Karlita lived in the citadel about ten months, until June 2023, attending the Gen School for the formation of young people of the Focolare Movement.
Today, from her home in the city of San Miguel, she recalls, “In Loppiano, I met so many people and I saw how, in their countries, they work, with small or large initiatives, to welcome others, to concretely love those around them. And this impressed me! We are different but united in this desire to live fraternity, accepting the other as he or she is!”
Karlita’s adventure started several months earlier, listening to the stories of some San Miguel girls who had attended Gen School in previous years.
“In December 2021, I graduated and thought that this was the right time to go. But I had to wait because the School did not start until the following September.” Thus, she began working in the administrative sector of a university. However, the desire to leave grew more and more.“I was experiencing a moment of doubt:: I did not feel God next to me. I hoped for many things: that the Gen School would help me rediscover and strengthen my relationship with Him; that I would meet other boys and girls who, like me, want to spread universal brotherhood; that I would get to know myself more, discovering how I can use my profession as a communicator.”
Two weeks before leaving, Karlita quit her job, but she is unrepentant: “Today, I thank my fellow adventurers for teaching me that every person is important, that every opinion counts, that no problem is too small. In Loppiano, I understood that God loves me immensely, because I felt his love in every person I met in the citadel. . I really felt at home, because for me being at home means feeling safe and at peace. And there I was able to experience that.”
Reacclimating, after several months outside one’s country, living in such a special, “protected” place or context, can’t be easy “When I returned home, seeing my parents, my sister, feeling the warm temperatures of my homeland again was wonderful! Of course, – she admits – I have to decide whether to go back to school or look for a job. Sometimes I feel that I have fallen behind in comparison to my friends. I also feel the fatigue but it is normal. I have experienced other realities! Everyone walks on his or her own path. I am living another time!” She adds, “Now that I am here, I have to put into practice, with the gen in my city, what I have learned in Loppiano. I think that having done this school of life helps me to try to live for fraternity, one step at a time, seeing Jesus in the other, remembering that if I did it there, I can do it here too!”