|Some of the beautiful Barretta girls - Alessandra is on the right. Her left|
hand partially disappeared because she was shaking her finger at
me because she didn't want her picture taken.
Our latest tender mercy occurred in the home of some of our members. Sister Barretta is the head of the house. In March 1999, her brother and his wife were killed in an automobile accident. Three children were in the car as well, but they survived. Sister Barretta and her husband took them in to their home and raised them. They already had five children of their own. Her husband, a taxi driver, died in 1999, leaving her to raise the eight children by herself. A year later, she discovered she had uterine cancer and had to go through extensive chemotherapy. Then, in 2001, her son Valentino was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident. Needless to say, her family has had its share of challenges.
Her oldest daughter, Alessandra is trying to become an attorney. She is very bright and has been studying on and off for many years as she has had to work to help feed the family. In Europe, university degrees are given after a required number of examinations are successfully passed. She had run into a very difficult exam on legal terms and concepts which she had taken seven times before and never passed. She was scheduled to try for the eighth time the day after our visit. In the past she had studied sufficiently for this exam, which is conducted with a couple of law professors asking questions out loud to her, face to face. The past few times, she allowed herself to be intimidated by the professors and didn’t score high enough to pass – a passing score is 18. Since she was scheduled to try again the next day, we decided we should have a family prayer together to help her have confidence in the things she had studied and let her mind be at ease during the test. We all knelt around their coffee table and I acted as voice. Our prayer was answered. She called today to say that she received a score of 18 – enough to be considered a passing grade. This was a marvelous achievement. Now she can continue with the rest of her exams and graduate around September. If she had not passed today, she would have had to wait a few months to take the exam again and would not have been able to continue with her other exams.
Family prayer. Who knew?