I was born in Siracusa, Sicily in 1980 and spent the first 26 years of my life there.
I studied philosophy at university and obtained a bachelor degree.
After completing university, I worked for the Catholic Church in different capacities in Italy, Africa and Australia.
In 2008 I moved to Australia to marry my husband Dominic. My family remains in Sicily.
Since immigrating to Australia I have lived at Brisbane, Broome and Perth. I have become an Australian citizen.
I have completed a Graduate Diploma in Archives and Records Management and am currently employed as the Archivist at the Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.
Just three months ago I gave birth to our first child; a son named Eli.
Prayer is a conversation with God.
Although I pray traditional prayers like the Lord’s Prayer or the Hail Mary, and especially the Rosary, it is for me more about talking to Him like you would to your father.
This leads to an important aspect of how I pray, which is its content. In a dialogue with one you love there is space for petitions and requests but also thanksgiving and contemplation.
I often pray thanking God for all I am, all I have and I have been given and I contemplate all the wonders He has done in my life.
How do I pray? To explain another aspect of my prayer, I will ask a question: How do I walk? Walking is a natural act which is so engrained in us that we do not think about it. It just happens.
For me, prayer is the same. And this is how prayer has become a natural part of my life; it flows without the need to think about it.
The why, where and when of prayer are not important. I pray everywhere and at anytime.
It can be while I drive, while I walk, while for a moment I look at the sky, it can be at night time, while I make a meal, while I clean the house.
Of course, I can pray in a church or in the silence of my room. I can pray whenever I want. If I really feel His presence in my life, here and now, I can enter into a dialogue with Him, no matter where I am or what the hour of the day is.
Without any doubt my mother is the biggest influence on my faith. This has come through her example rather than through words.
My mother is a woman of gigantic faith. Her faith is demonstrated in action. I have seen her trusting in God in all circumstances.
She lives her faith such that it guides what she says and does. She does not talk about it, she lives it.
Also, her relationship with God is so intimate and personal that it is all the more real and tangible.
This aspect of her faith has taught me that we can believe against all odds, ask for the impossible and hope against all hope because God is always with us.
For some people conversion is a gentle and slow process. For others, like Saul on the way to Damascus, conversion is a powerful and life changing event which suddenly transforms everything. The latter happened to me.
It was an experience of extreme suffering. Suffering strips us of all nonsense, of every arrogance, indulgence and self-centeredness.
It makes us capable of asking for help, it makes us humble, it makes us as simple as children.
In that deep state of anguish and desperation I truly felt the powerful hand of God answering my cry and acting in my life.
Since my conversion in 2007, my faith has been my guide.
This is especially so when I have faced challenges and obstacles which only faith has given me the strength to prevail over.
I think that to adopt faith is a challenge in itself, because to apply it in daily life is not necessarily a guaranteed source of security or consolation, but rather a sometimes difficult way through.
Faith is a guide in all situations, in particular the difficult ones.
When faced with challenges and moments of weakness I test my faith and prove that it is enduring.
It is true that we live in an ever increasingly secular world, but I think that Christians have faced challenges in all ages, even in religious societies.
Religion by itself is not necessarily a guarantee of perfection and peace.
What I think is unchanged, even in a secular world, is everyone’s quest for God and the challenge and act of courage in following Him.
The words of Paul in his letter to the Romans (Rm 12, 1-21) remain very real:
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect”.
This is the challenge which faces Catholics of yesterday and today.
When I think of strong role models in the Catholic Church, I immediately think about all the religious and lay people that I know personally.
They are the real face of Christ. These ordinary people whose everyday acts of faith and kindness, whilst unknown, are truly extraordinary. I cannot imagine my life without faith.
Faith is a modus operandi and Vivendi. It is the light of my life, its’ substance, it gives it depth and warmth.
It means, among other things, to be constantly challenged.
As I have lived a life without faith I believe that I understand the difference it makes to my life now.
One way is to explain it through a metaphor. Without faith, I felt like I was wandering. With faith, I feel like I am walking back home.