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St Marcellin Champagnat Centre, Bucarest

01/11/2014: Romania

It is 18 years since the Marist brothers arrived in Bucarest, Romania. The St Marcellin Champagnat Centre is the space they created to return dignity and hope to many children and young people without family or home. At present,  32 are accomodated in the Centre. The following account expresses the feelings of Stefania, a young Romanian just recently turned 18, with a past full of experiences of rejection and abandonment, who today, having reached her majority, is leaving the Centre. 

________________

I have spent more than 8 years since July 2006. From then until now, the Centre has been my home. From tomorrow, my home will be elsewhere. Or more accurately, my home will continue to be the Saint Marcellin Champagnat Centre, but I will be starting a new life in another place. I know that I can count on the support of my teachers, that Juan Carlos has told me many times that they are not going to abandon me, including insisting that I pass by the Centre once a week. All that is certain, but today, packing my suitcases, I feel a contradiction within me. 

On one hand, I want to keep on growing, I know that that is the best option I have now and for the future. But on the other hand, I have a fear that you cannot imagine. These last days I told Juan Carlos how I felt the fear, situated in my stomach… “my stomach has been hurting, I’ve had days when I have not eaten”. Yesterday, when they told me that on Sunday they expected me in the new home, I felt better, but I was afraid that they would not admit me, that they would tell me my place was taken. On telling me they expected me Sunday, another fear arose in me: “And if I do not adapt, if my new companions don’t accept me, if I don’t like it when I go?...” I am afraid of leaving my friends at the Centre, leaving my teachers, leaving the Brothers. They have all been my family in the more than 8 years I have spent at the Centre.

 I know that the Centre will open its doors every time I come and the teachers will always accept me; this I have seen in the young people who have left the Centre and now live in their own homes, with their work, their family… They have always come when they wanted, always been welcomed, always been able to have a chat. I hope to continue maintaining very good relations and, truly, I trust that they continue helping: I need them. 

My objective this year is to finish secondary studies and obtain the B.A.C. in order to enter university. Starting from today, I will have to buy my own food, wash my clothes, look after myself. I know that this is something I need to learn. As they keep on telling me, now I begin living by myself. I count on the support and help of the teachers and the Brothers: everyone presents it to me as an opportunity. They also tell me, because they know me, that anything new is costly and scary.

I desire to be happy and to feel good about myself. I am grateful to those who, in those 8 long years, have helped me, all those marvelous persons who have passed through the centre during that time, especially to the volunteers who have come from outside Romania; in the summers I felt good with you, and I assure you that I will remember you and carry you in my heart.

 Many thanks and good luck to everyone.

_______________
Stefania (Fanuta)

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