The presentation of Simona to the brethren of the Catholic Fraternity
The testimony of the leader of the Community Primavera Giuliano Monaco at the Second European Conference of the Catholic Fraternity
Assisi, 1–4 November 2007
The Leader of the Primavera Community Giuliano Monaco during his testimony
We thank the Catholic Fraternity for giving us the opportunity to present to you this precious testimony about Simona.
Simona Tronci was a great gift to our Community, but we are sure that she was also a gift to the Church and to the Charismatic Renewal. Simona, born in Cagliari on 13 October 1960 lived a normal childhood and adolescence, like that of many other girls. Brought up in the Catholic faith by her parents, she led a traditional Christian life and regularly received the Sacraments.
Simona was a co-founder of our Community Primavera of the Charismatic Catholic Renewal which was set up in 1977. It was in the same year that Simona received her Confirmation. Jesus was so much pleased with Simona that, through the Holy Spirit, He strengthened the human qualities that she already possessed; He improved and enriched her talent for singing and praying and her skills of persuasion and of teaching. This marked in a deep and indelible manner the start of her new life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
La Serva di Dio Simona Tronci
Simona changed her views of the world and of life. When she finished her secondary education she enrolled in the Faculty of Law, an area of study in which she was strongly interested, believing that this would serve as the means to ensure that justice would prevail among people. The first results of her studies were excellent but deep inside her she became aware that human justice, compared to divine justice, is precarious and imperfect. Simona changed her course of studies and after leaving the Faculty of Law she enrolled at the Pontificia Facoltà Teologica in Cagliari. She was the first female student to be enrolled in this course of studies in the city; and she was the first lay woman. In the school of the Holy Spirit and with the strength of the Community behind her, she faced difficulties and prejudice, but she passed her first tests with the highest grades!
Simona was the main animator behind the prayers of praise and chants of our Community; and she involved in her evangelical enthusiasm all those who came into contact with her. For her friends and for the Renewal Movement, she composed and sang several songs that were suitable both for the Liturgy and as songs of praise; for example, the song Essere amici (Being friends), whose words are very significant: Being friends... being brethren in the Lord, what does it mean? And here is her reply: it means discovering each other, looking for each other, understanding each other. It means loving each other, suffering the same pain. Simona believed in the love of God and of her brethren and while she would contine to play on her guitar she would sing again these words: There is only love for those who are with the Lord, there is no difference between my heart and your heart. We are one in Christ, we are only one love. For Simona there was no other friendship except that which was lived with the Lord; sharing joys and sorrows, praying for each other, helping each other to grow in charity and in faith, praising God and singing together. It was a friendship that bore the fragrance of Christ.
In her backpack Simona always carried her guitar ... she wanted to lead everybody in praising the Lord, young people as well as ones who were not so young. By many people she was considered as a leader in prayer, a teacher whose intensity led us to submit ourselves to the love of God. The Lord put words and music in her heart and on her lips. She wrote as follows in her diary: Let me write songs that will lead my brethren to praise the Lord and pray; the world needs to hear people singing ... it must discover again that there is a God of love who is calling us to joy.
Simona deeply loved life! and she loved God profoundly for the gift of life and thanked Him all the time for all that she possessed, for her friends, for her boyfriend and for her family. She loved nature and everything around her served as an occasion for her to praise the Lord. She considered everything as a gift of God and she lived in continuous gratitude for her life. She thanked Him because she could walk, she could see, she could jump, run, sing, play music and study. Throughout the day she was in tune with the Holy Spirit and it often happened that she was able to read a person's inner feelings and whisper new words that the person would need. With her hug she would provide comfort, charity and strength to correct, and she would provide tact and enthusiasm to support a person. Her daily activity was gradually turned into an Altar where she would sing about the joy of the Spirit. Her daily activity turned into a Cross where she could love the Lord Jesus!
Simona had a tender and private relationship with the Heavenly Father and wanted to make Him happy in everything she did. In every gesture that she made, in every decision that she took, her greatest concern was that she might cause sorrow to her God.
She was not afraid of God's projects. She was a believer and had full confidence in Him. Every day she would ask: what do You want me to do?.
When she would realize that she was fragile and imperfect, she would pray to the Lord to come to her aid. She would spend several hours during the night in prayer and contemplation and she would then confide in her diaries the graces with which the Lord had visited her.
Her faith, her prayers that were so genuine and charismatic, enriched by her praise, her songs and her teaching were able to bring Jesus within the reach of those who were away and opened a ray of light and hope to her brethren who were sick, unemployed or oppressed.
Simona rejected worldly and superficial situations because she preferred to turn her look instead towards things coming from high above while still keeping in touch with everyday matters. She liked sport and she was a very good volleyball player. She preferred an inner beauty to external appearances, which she was still interested in, but in a simple manner.
Simona viveva nel mondo ma non era del mondo, viveva nel suo tempo ma era attirata dall'Eterno; aveva tanti doni: la sua giovinezza, la bellezza, la salute, l'agiatezza, la brillantezza dell'intelligenza ma, come Francesco, ha lasciato tutto, tutto quello che riteneva potesse essere per lei un fardello, un impedimento per avvicinarsi a Dio e ai fratelli.
Il Crocifisso di San Damiano
Although Simona lived in this world, she did not belong to this world; and though she lived according to her times, she was drawn to Eternity. She had so many gifts: her youth, her beauty, health, poise and a sharp intelligence but, like St Francis, she left everything that she felt that could serve as a burden and prevent her from getting closer to God and to her brethren.
Simona did not consider charity as being equivalent to giving alms; getting rid of faults was not considered as a judgement; and she did not consider giving advice as human presumption; she gave everything freely without expecting anything in return, without showing any preferences towards anybody but with a single wish: that the brother who stood in front of her would be able to meet Jesus, her friend who had changed her life.
There are countless instances where Simona confided in Jesus and in Mary in her diaries from 1975 to 1984 until she reached the stage when she had a deep desire to understand the value of the Cross and of suffering to love even more her brethren and her sisters
The Lord gave clear answers to her in January 1983, making her experience the Cross even more closely; it was in this year that her ordeal started. A tumour ravaged her body while her faith remained firm. Simona, chosen by the Lord as a complete offering, offered everything herself. Doctors immediately said that it was something quite serious. To the amazement of her doctors, on several occasions she showed an improvement following prayers by the Community! But the ways of God were different! This is what she wrote in her diary during her illness: You showed youself to me and asked me whether if I really loved You so much, I would accept that You would take away my life. Jesus, I gave you my answer at that time and I would repeat the same answer even today: my Lord, my only true friend, my life belongs to You. My God, You have created me. My Father, if it is better for me and for the salvation of my brethren, cure me. But if my service has to come to an end, and this would serve as a source of salvation for me and for my brethren, for my family, then You may take me, my sweet Jesus, and let Your will be done.
Simona welcomed the will of God to the extent that she did not consider her illness as an enemy but as the holy wood on which she would lay down in order to ascend to heaven, the road to become the Eucharist, as food for her brethren. In fact, when she was still very young, a long time before she discovered that she was ill, she had offered her life for the Renewal, for unity among her brethren, for the Church, for young people.
At a time when life smiled to her, the symptoms of her serious illness became increasingly grave and as her disease advanced, this led her first to a state of semi-paralysis in a wheelchair and then progressively left her paralyzed on her bed, deaf, blind and speechless, unable to move, awaiting her great encounter with her Love.
Simona lived her suffering in the same way as Jesus ... and she wrote: Jesus, if I look at your Cross now, there is an empty place ... and it is there that I must place myself ....
With her suffering Simona embodied the Word that there is no greater love than that shown by one who offers his life for his own brethren.
Her heroism was shown not only by the suffering which struck her but especially by the way in which he was able to face it: with love, generosity, gratitude and united to her Lord in the light of her faith.
Some theologinas who had the opportunity to know more about her brief but intense life found strong similarities with the spirituality of Saint Therese of the Baby Jesus.
Those who knew her were able to witness an attitude based on a constant and deep-rooted faith that made her understand and experience the mystery of the cross.
Hope, founded on God's help, directed her whole life towards God: she lived near the Crucified and His Mother, accepting the divine will and believing in Love.
For Simona Love, Charity, were passed on to others without the expectation of any reward. Working in silence without expecting any recognition and not letting the opportunity pass by to do good to others, to sick persons in hospital, to the poor, to tramps ... to those who were dispossessed, even throughout her sickness.
Even at the height of her sickenss she did not want to be deprived of Jesus the Eucharist every day and, since she could no longer swallow, the Vicar General authorised her to receive the Eucharist exclusively in the form of wine that was taken from a chalice by means of a syringe so that, with a lot of difficulty, Simona would be able to receive a few drops.
Simona's meeting with her Jesus took place on the evening of 18 April 1984, Holy Wednesday, at the young age of 23 years. Six hundred brethren celebrated and participated in her funeral on Easter Sunday which was crowned with chants on the Resurrection which she had herself composed.
Father Clemente Pilloni
Also thanks to the book Deeply in Love with Jesus, written by Padre Clemente Pilloni, who gathered thoughts that were taken from Simona's diary and collected testimony from persons who knew her, the Archbishop of Cagliari set up a Diocesan Tribunal and in this way launched the process for her Beatification! On that day the Archbishop said these words: Simona will undoubtedly serve as a model for so many youths and for all the Church, especially in these difficult times that are bringing about a strong turmoil in people's faith.
The Diocesan Tribunal has already started, through the submission of evidence by witnesses, to carry out studies on her Heroic Virtues while for us our only task is to pray and to trust everything in the hands of the Lord.
Simona believed that she was a seed, a seed of God, and it was only after many years that we understood that the seed has sprouted! The seed has to die so that its fruit may sprout and can be collected by all the children of God, in the Church, and especially by youths, as she expressly said in her prayers.
The years have passed and Simona's mediations have become a strong support for the growth of the Community and for so many brethren; thanks to the simplicity and to the immediacy of her language, we can see how so many people have derived personal lessons and how so many special results have taken place in the last few years: conversions, vocations, special calls.
Today Simona has so many friends, so many brethren and sisters in the faith that she has become the closest confidante to whom to turn to ask for strength and for her intercession for the necessary spiritual and material needs.
We believe that Simona is like a lantern that cannot be placed underneath the table of our memories, jealously guarded in a photo or in a script but should be placed on top and should be given and offered to serve as the light to all those who participate in this Conference today and should also be put in every place where we want to put her as an example, as a witness: in our families, in our parishes, in our schools, in our workplaces because Saints have no age; they do not go out of fashion, they have no place, because they are in the heart of God, in Eternity!
Simona has reached the goal and has paved the way ... it is up to us now to take up the commitment to walk along this way to be able, one day, to embrace our beloved Lord.
WHO IS SIMONA TODAY?
Simona is a young lover of Life;
Simona is a young lover of the Trinity of God;
Simona is a bright arrow that indicates to us the One who counts: Christ;
Simona is a staunch example of the action of the Holy Spirit;
Simona serves as a thorn in our side so that nobody will slumber as he walks his own path towards Holiness;
Simona is the gift that the Charismatic Renewal offers to the Church as a guarantee for its journey towards Holiness;
Simona is ... God's gift for all of us.
Thank you for your attention and praise and glory to the Lord!