Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 67

lot of ignorance- and even arrogance- in them. For a long time, we had an elderly Italian lady working in our Generalate. She was so trustworthy and loved that she was given the task to clean our rooms one by one. Ever since my election as Rector General in 2010, I have kept a nice photo of my mother in my room. Once, this gentle woman enquired about her. Out of my genuine appreciation for this little Italian lady in her 70s, I told her that I would be happy to have a mother like her. She corrected me immediately: “Do not say that! Your mother is the best mother for you. Nobody can take that place.” For a moment I was stunned and ashamed. Certainly, my mother was the best for me. I do believe that I am what I am because of my caring and gracious mother, who said as many as four Rosaries a day. She must still be doing that from Heaven above, because I know her prayers sustain me even today. What this Italian mother taught me is that I can never be myself without my natural mother, even if I may come across many good mothers during my life journey. So, too, is this also true of our family and place of birth. While we are all rooted in our particular cultural and personal history, exposure to other ethnicities and living conditions is absolutely crucial for the development of the human person. Though it might mean death to certain aspects of our own person and personal history, it will only widen the horizons through the integration of new experiences and challenges. Development demands that we put existing convictions and priorities to the test for new ways of confronting realities. “To seek to do more, know more, and have more in order to be more;” this is what St. Pope Paul VI tells us if we wish to aspire to the integral growth of humanity. A very concrete example: the food habits of various cultures. As an Indian, I am very much used to hot and penchant food. I have been living in Italy for over 20 years now, and as far as I am concerned, the habits are very different. But I am at home with the Italian kitchen, and the food is good for me. Do I miss Indian food? Yes, I do, regardless of my many years here. What would be 67