9-11 Nov, Malpensafiere, Busto Arsizio, Milano, Italy – Europe Yatra2019
The warm-hearted people of Italy welcomed Amma to Milano, the ninth stop on Amma’s 2019 European Tour with much love and enthusiasm. On the first day, long lines began forming in the early morning hours amidst a chilly alpine setting outside the Malpensafiere in Busto Arsizio. “Just like the sun, Amma has emerged bringing us the warmth and light of compassion,” said Stefano, a local coordinator who was managing the welcome desk for the crowds pouring in.
Amma was formally welcomed to Italy by Giacomo Campiotti, award-winning film and television director; Thomas Torelli, author and documentary filmmaker; Emanuele Antonelli, Mayor of Busto Arsizio; and Massimo Citracca, Mayor of the town of Valfornace, near the epicenter of the August 2016 earthquakes in Central Italy which claimed more than 300 lives.
At the time, the town of Valfornace in the province of Macerata had suffered major damages. Immediately after the first quake, under Amma’s instructions, the volunteers of Amma Italia got in touch with the Civil Protection authorities, to help the people who had lost their homes. Valfornace’s mayor expressed the need to have a community hall, where people could gather to meet and support each other. Coming to know of this need, Amma asked the volunteers of Amma Italia to go ahead and construct this community multi-purpose hall for the people in Valfornace.
Now, with construction of the community hall complete, Amma handed over the key to the Mayor of Valfornace. Receiving the key, the Mayor Citracca said, “Amma has done so much for our small community which has received Amma’s and her volunteers’ attention/help since 2017. I am here to convey the gratitude of our small community. To tell you the truth this is the first time I have met Amma, but I will come back in the future because I have found here a great organization made up of people who work and help people in need with all their heart. Ours is a very small town where, in 2016, 85% of private buildings and 100% of public buildings were destroyed by the earthquake. With Amma’s help we now have a beautiful multipurpose hall to the benefit of the whole community. So, I will bring Amma’s embrace to my fellow citizens and heartfelt thanks to all of you.”
Busto Arsizio’s Mayor Antonelli reflected on the impact of Amma’s darshan on the community, on himself on his work: “Every time her embrace surprises us, comforts us, wraps us in her sweetness, her generosity, her spirituality. Every time, she instils energy and gifts hope to us, the hope that a better world is possible. And each time Amma embraces us, we realize we have found the answer to our need for being welcomed, understood, and each and everyone is seen as a unique human being. Her embrace is not a ritual always remaining unchanged, it’s a simple and complex gesture at the same time, a gesture which is both concrete and symbolic, a gesture encouraging us to open up our arms to the others and to really meet them, by overcoming prejudice, embarrassment and difficulties. This embrace is not pent up in the venues where Amma gives her darshan, but reaches out to the whole world thanks to the very important social and charitable activities she carries out and coordinates. Her commitment is a model of global catering for essential needs, overcoming every barrier, every discrimination, and gets to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable people.
“I am sure that her embrace will be able to instill even more enthusiasm in my commitment, as it has done for the last three years, giving me strength to do my utmost for our town and the province to the benefit of everybody, no one excluded. Thank you, Amma.”
Mr. Campiotti spoke of Amma’s love through a beautiful analogy. “An image that comes to mind is that of a bee. I see Amma as a big flower and through her embrace I — and I think all of you as well — try to get as much ‘nectar’ as possible, like a tiny bee, a bit for myself but above all to try, in my small humble way, to spread this message of Love everywhere because the most beautiful thing about Amma’s great Love is that it is spiritual but very, very concrete. Thank you, thank you Amma.”
Amma spoke about the importance of selflessness, “The more space we create for others within our heart, the more happiness we experience. The more our ego grows, the less happiness we experience. The law of Nature and of life is selflessness.”
As Amma entered and exited the hall for each program, the entire room erupted in applause and heartfelt cheers. After the conclusion of Devi Bhava, as Amma made her way out of the hall, the entire crowd spontaneously began chanting “Grazie, grazie, grazie,” (thank you) in unison. Amma took one last look at her Italian children, her eyes beaming with love, as their gratitude overflowed from their hearts.