“Lo sguardo di Maria sempre ci ha dato speranza”


Nella foto: Isabel con la nipotina Magdalena e l’icona della Vergine

Il 27 giugno, i Missionari Redentoristi hanno iniziato l’Anno Giubilare per il 150 anniversario della consegna dell’icona di Nostra Signora del Perpetuo Soccorso da Papa Pio IX ai Redentoristi. Il tema di questo anno giubilare coinciderà con l’Anno della Misericordia, ed è: Perpetuo Soccorso Icona d’amore.

La tradizione racconta che nel XVI secolo, un mercante di Creta aveva rubato l’icona della Vergine e l’aveva portata a Roma dopo essere stato salvato da vari disastri. Dopo 300 anni di culto e di molti miracoli, l’icona del Perpetuo Soccorso fu dimenticata, quando venne distrutta la chiesa di San Matteo a Roma. A metà del XIX secolo, i Missionari Redentoristi avevano installato la casa centrale in questa vecchia chiesa e avevano iniziato a diffondere la devozione all’icona in tutto il mondo, obbedendo al mandato che il Papa Pio IX aveva dato loro nel consegnare l’icona nel 1866, “Farla conoscere in tutto il mondo”.

Il culto a Nostra Signora del Perpetuo Soccorso si diffuse rapidamente in tutta Europa e in America grazie ai Missionari Redentoristi della Congregazione di Alfonso Maria de Liguori. Una copia dell’icona fu ricevuta, come parte della sua dote, dalla madre di Isabel, una donna armena che viveva in Ucraina e che poi si trasferì in Bielorussia sposando un ufficiale dell’esercito polacco dopo la guerra polacco-bolscevica del 1920. La famiglia si trasferì e con essa l’icona del Perpetuo Soccorso.

Il 17 Settembre 1939 i Russi attaccarono la Polonia e il padre di Isabel Fu arrestato. La madre di Isabel e suoi fratelli furono sfrattati dalla loro casa mentre i soldati russi ladistruggevano. Alla fine Furono deportati in Kazakistan, dicendo loro che avrebbero incontrato il padre. I soldati non permisero loro di prendere nulla, ma Riuscirono a nascondere e portare con loro l’immagine della Madre del Perpetuo Soccorso.

Arrivarono finalmente in Siberia, in un campo di concentramento in cui, nonostante rischiassero la vita, pregavano ad alta voce dinanzi all’icona. In questo gulag della Taiga, i Russi non trovarono mai l’icona che era l’unico segno di legame con Dio, con la Chiesa, con la fede. “Come Gesù, abbiamo cercato aiuto nella braccia di Maria in mezzo a un mondo crudele, irrazionale, senza senso. Lo sguardo di Maria sembrava incoraggiarci, irradiando in noi la speranza”, ricorda Isabel.

Dopo quel tempo, la famiglia di Isabel riuscì a spostarsi in Kazakistan, dove la madre di Isabel iniziò a lavorare in una fabbrica, e c’era sempre con loro la Madonna del Perpetuo Soccorso. La casa era diventata una chiesa clandestina, e anche se non veniva celebrata l’Eucaristia, molte donne venivano a pregare davanti all’icona. “Abbiamo pregato durante la notte, e nonostante le perquisizioni della polizia, non sono mai riusciti a portare via l’immagine. E’ stato il nostro più grande tesoro, la nostra unica speranza e aiuto”, dice energicamente Isabel.

Oggi Isabel vive a Szczawnica, nel sud della Polonia, e sul suo letto pende l’immagine della Madre del Perpetuo Soccorso, la stessa che era con lei nel gulag siberiano, e poi in Kazakistan. “Maria ci ha salvato! Lei, la Madre del Perpetuo Soccorso”, dice con gioia Isabel.

(Juan Ignacio Merino, Alfa e l’Omega, Settimanale d’informazione Cattolica)


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