I turn around expecting some old friend but I see two guys who I don’t recognize. One of them introduces himself and the name sounds vaguely familiar but I can’t put a finger on it. As he talks a little I clue in. He’s a good friend of the Italian brother who lives across the hall from me in Rome, and his wife is friends with my sister. He married a Canadian girl studying in Rome and they then moved to Canada.
He had found out about my mom’s illness through all his friends in Regnum Christi. He then recognized my guayabera – since we wear them when we aren’t wearing our collar but they are just about unheard of in Canada – and put it all together.
I had another similar experience that wasn’t quite as dramatic last December. I was leading a few people through the Roman Forum when an older teen says “Hello, Br Matthew!” I recognize him a little but teens change so much. He had come on a retreat or two I had directed 3 years earlier and was now here to see his two older brothers ordained as Legionary priests. I am so poor with faces that even after he mentioned his brothers being ordained, I couldn’t figure out which member of the family he was since he has two brothers about his age that had also come on camps I ran.
When I was back home during mom’s illness, I got notes from Legionaries and Regnum Christi members from all over mentioning that they were praying for my mom. The Calgary section had 68 on one list alone – there were probably others. I also got notes from the USA, Rome, and France. I think such experiences show how we are all one big family.