The Rojas spouses, who arrived in the citadel last September, have assumed leadership roles at the Loreto School in the citadel, starting last September. Hailing from Bogota, the capital of Colombia, they bring with them a wealth of experience in supporting couples. Notably, in 2015 they were honored with an invitation from the Vatican to participate in the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Lucio re-entered the scene, reveling in “the blessed life of a retiree,” actively engaged as both a homemaker and athlete, cycling 30 kilometers every day. Meanwhile, Maria Angelica dedicated her time to her dental practice, and together, they were actively involved with the families of the Focolare movement in their native Colombia. The proposal to relocate to Loppiano and take on the leadership of the Loreto School came as a surprise, particularly when they learned that they would be assuming the roles of leaders at the school.
“We felt a sense of fear during the handover, not only due to the uncertainties surrounding our responsibilities in the life of the citadel,” the two individuals express their dismay, still lingering after two months. They arrived on September 23rd, just in time to join two other families from the coordination in welcoming the four couples who had been present until the summer. These couples hailed from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Chile, bringing with them three children and two more on the way.
Lucio and Maria Angelica Rojas, a seasoned couple, possess extensive experience in providing support to families. Their notable collaboration with the International Center for New Families underscores their commitment to addressing family-related issues. Additionally, they actively participate in Family Ministry in Colombia. An exceptional highlight in their journey was their involvement in the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family, where they received a direct invitation from the Vatican. The preceding year, they had attended a preparatory meeting at the Vatican, reflecting their proactive engagement in the synod process. It appears that their valuable contributions were not only acknowledged but possibly enhanced by Lucio’s academic expertise. He serves as a distinguished university professor of Ethics and Humanities at the University of Bogotá, holding the esteemed position of department director. This combination of practical experience and academic proficiency positions them as significant contributors to the discourse on family dynamics and values.
Courage is not lacking in either of them. In the year 2000, they made a bold decision to come to the Loreto School, seeking to understand the dynamics of family life and the charism of unity. This commitment led them to resign from their respective jobs, sell their car and house, and relocate to Loppiano with their two children, aged 4 and 2 at the time. . They immersed themselves in this transformative experience for a duration of 24 months, capturing the moments through photographs and cherishing the lessons learned during their initial exposure. Reflecting on that period, Lucio recalls the initial challenge of adapting to the citadel’s environment. “The impact with the citadel was challenging,” he says. “We were not accustomed to having dedicated time for meaningful conversations with each other, especially given our differing personalities .” Meanwhile, Maria Angelica, who had previously divided her time between running a dental practice and teaching Oral Rehabilitation at the dentistry faculty in Bogotá, faced a significant shift. “In Bogotá, I had the assistance of a maid. Here, I had to learn the art of homemaking, cooking, and fostering communication between us.”
They first crossed paths in Las Circales, a disadvantaged neighborhood in Bogotá, during a social initiative organized by the Focolare movement. Their shared commitment to aiding the less fortunate brought them together. Maria Angelica, who had recently graduated, dedicated herself to providing dental services, and Lucio gladly assumed the role of her assistant. In 1992, they formalized their partnership through marriage. Fast forward to the present, and we find them celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary here in Mariapoli. The atmosphere is vibrant and joyous. Despite facing economic challenges within the citadel and the broader Movement, Lucio remains optimistic, stating, “It’s a moment of great hope. We aspire to contribute to the realization of God’s work, which is steadily progressing.” Maria Angelica chimes in, emphasizing the profound words left by Chiara, a guiding light for all Movement members: “‘Be a family!’ Chiara’s legacy underscores that the Loreto School’s role extends beyond merely forming families within the Movement. It also strives to be a foundational unit, fostering connections within the citadel and evolving into a community that lives out the Gospel as a unified family.”