In 1980 I was in the convent of the Capuchin friars in Lugano, Switzerland. In a corner of the garden there was the old cemetery of the friars, in which eight religious were buried. It was totally abandoned because the place was going to become a parking lot and they had decided to exhume the remains of the deceased and transfer them to the cemetery of another convent.
In spite of this, every morning I got up at four o’clock and worked in the little cemetery to restore its dignity: “It will help our brothers to return to the bosom of the Father”, I responded to those who pointed out the uselessness of such effort.
After four months, the work being almost completed, from a bush came a swarm of enormous flying ants which attacked me fiercely, turning my face into a grotesque mask. For many days I stayed in bed with a very high fever. “Everything has its price”, commented the holy Capuchin Father Mathieu, who was there on vacation from France.
Having paid the price, I began to work again. With the last strokes of the rake, out from the ground came an oval-shaped metal (6,30x5 cm) which contained a piece of glass with the picture (4,30x3 cm) of Jesus who, after His death, returns to the Father.
This discovery seemed very unusual, since the last burial dated back to 50 years ago and the picture was protected at the back only by some cardboard.
A few years later I showed it to a restorer who told me that it wasn’t something printed out on paper, as I had always believed, but a miniature on glass, painted from behind with tiny dots, using a technique which no longer existed.
The medal, which was probably given to me by my deceased brothers in exchange for my act of love, marked the beginning of my new spiritual journey totally directed towards the Father who, in the Son, wants to gather all men in His tenderness.
The Father’s kingdom on earth will come when every man, son in the Son, comes to understand the Father’s Love and takes refuge in His Merciful arms.