“YES TO LIFE! Taking care of the precious gift of life in fragility”

On 23, 24 and 25 May, an International Conference called “Yes to Life” was held in Rome, organized by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.

ERI has appointed 2 couples to attend this meeting: Gianni and Teresa Andreoli and Gianni and Clelia Passoni. The latter, the current SR of Italy, leave us here their impressions on these Conferences.


The precious gift of life does not lose value in fragility; in this meeting the theme has been developed both from the scientific point of view, trying to dispel some erroneous beliefs with respect to pre and perinatal diseases, but above all proposing concrete experiences of proximity and assistance in networking with parents and families to deal with the lives of unborn children at risk of being “discarded” because they carry a diagnosis of unhealthy diseases.

“Every child is always in the heart of God,” says Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia. Through the testimonies that have been given to us in these days, we have had the confirmation that every child has always been in the heart of his parents and has the right to live his life, including his intrauterine life, with dignity and respect, regardless of its likely duration.

The interventions that have been carried out have dealt with the difficult path of pre-natal diagnoses, palliative care and methods of accompanying parents. The testimonies of those who lived this experience were true stories of life and deep love, that unique love of a parent for a child and vice versa; even if for a few moments the relationship between the three can be so intense as to change hearts and turn despair into fullness and joy.

“Il cuore in una goccia” is the Association founded in Rome by Prof. Noia (Director of the Perinatal Hospice – Perinatal Palliative Care Centre) “Santa Madre Teresa di Calcutta”-Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli” I.R.C.S.S. – Roma). It takes care of welcoming mothers and fathers of children with unfavourable diagnoses and declared incompatible for life, to follow the pregnancies and accompany the families in the difficult and painful path until they can see and cuddle their child, even if only for a short time. Similar initiatives have also been launched in other parts of the world and it has been very interesting to see how this is a problem debated in many countries, with significant experiences presented by the speakers.

Father Vito, spiritual guide of Chiara Corbella Petrillo, gave us some brief but very intense moments of the time he spent with this wonderful mother before she reached her two children who died immediately after being born.  In a letter that Chiara wrote to her third child on his first birthday, a few days before her death, she says: “…Thanks to your little brothers and sisters we fell in love with eternal life and we stopped being afraid of death, so God took us away, but to give us a heart that is larger and more open to accept Eternity already in this life… The Lord has always wanted you and will show you the way to follow if you open your heart to him…”.

Many are the images and videos of touching stories, with different outcomes but always underlining the value of the choice for life and the importance of not being alone. We leave some brief messages that have struck us and we believe that they can help us to deepen our way of thinking and often also to act.

“I can’t give days to your life, but I can give life to your days”

“There’s no such small foot that wouldn’t leave a trace in this world.”

“If you want to go to the source, you must go against the current” (John Paul II)


Au cours de l’audience privée accordée aux participants à la rencontre, le pape François a rappelé que le respect et l’acceptation de la vie ne sont pas seulement un problème de foi ou de religion mais représentent la réponse indispensable à la “culture du déchet”. Nous sommes tous appelés à accroître les réponses pastorales, et à la communion, pour aider à dépasser les difficultés pratiques, humaines, et spirituelles, des familles vivant dans la solitude et l’épreuve