“Step by step
when I fall I get up
I see the sky painted with red
with You who remains by my side
And Magdalene of Canossa, invite us to go to the whole world
to bring the love of Jesus.”

These are the words that conclude the hymn of our VOICA Convention 2011, whose theme was, "Step by Step... walk together” from 8th to 13th of August at San Michele in Rome. There were many who participated from every continent, both old and new volunteers as well as lay Canossian Sisters and those who are interested in the mission. Each had his own stories, experiences, and eagerness to meet the challenge to walk together, once again, step by step.
It was a week full of joy and meaningful encounter, where everyone felt involved and part of the same family, accompanied by St. Magdalene of Canossa. It was also a week of reflection and inspiration to understand what it means to be a Canossian volunteer today.
Fr. Giulio Albanese stressed that our time needs authentic witnesses. The progress that we experience now is associated with unprecedented depths where each of us is responsible for everything that is happening. Being a Catholic means to assume its responsibilities, it means to embody the Word of God, to live in human relations and understanding of the "Common Good" for all.
A Catholic must be prepared to universality, listening to the Holy Spirit who calls him to be a sign of contradiction, to be a holy friend of God, to live free all-encompassing love through the search for peace, justice, solidarity, without self- interest, but making it a tool for dialogue and respect. Mariuccia Donghi emphasized that it requires a new way of facing the challenges of solidarity, generosity with courage. Whatever we strive to do must be with pure motives. It must be fresh and credible, not with a feeling of compassion, but with the determination to commit oneself to the common good. We must bear witness with strength and share the gifts that we have received, by being with them and sharing with them what the world offers us every day. For this, it is worth it to go out to see and to meet others, as what Zaccheus did who climbs the tree. He left the crowd and tried to see Jesus. As Father Sergio Gallina says, an appropriate look, meekness "that caresses from a distance where the hand does not even come."
But then you have to be in a hurry to share and be together, with the poor and the least. You must live the gift, but this must be a gift to share. Through the truth, through dialogue, unity, selflessness, humility and respect as a child of God everyone is living their own communities, creating community, giving and receiving forgiveness, trying to always be available and responsible and flexible, because reality is never predictable or programmable. You must have the courage to go forward and walk with the poor, with those who bear his cross, moving together at the same pace, even if this means to slow down for some.
Share the gift, be yourself at all times, free and faithful in the service of life and hope.
From this we learn that volunteering is an act of will that comes from the heart. The heart as the seat of our profoundness, where each of us discovers his true identity and can start from here to become a witness in the world.