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Rome Reports

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Chiara Amirante: 20 years giving shelter to the homeless

Nearly 20 years ago, the life of Chiara Amirante changed. After suffering from what seemed liked irreversible blindness, she was cured. She took that as a sign to dedicate her life to others. Amirante's work began with the homeless near Rome's train station Termini, not a good place for a young woman to roam by herself.

CHIARA AMIRANTE

Founder, Nuovi Orizzonti

"There, I realized that these young people, and as Christians we are all brothers, they were considered dangerous. But rather, they were young people craving love, young people hurt deeply by indifference, by violence, and by so many negative experiences.�

She fondly recalls the very first person she helped out. The only, and most important thing Amirante could do, was listen to him.

CHIARA AMIRANTE

Founder, Nuovi Orizzonti

"What struck me the most was that the next day he thanked me, and said: 'You have given me a gift, thank you for saving my life.' And I responded: 'What do you mean? I wasn't even able to find a place for you to sleep.' He showed me a mural he designed before trying to kill himself. When I found him, it would have been his third suicide attempt, and he had written: 'Despite your indifference, we exist.' And he told me: 'I wanted to die because I already felt that indifference had killed me.�

Chiara made everything possible to find him a place to live, but was unable to. She then decided to leave her job and former life behind, to find shelter for the homeless and restore their dignity. She founded a group and called New Horizons.

CHIARA AMIRANTE

Founder, Nuovi Orizzonti

"Only love can make joy blossom in these deserts. Only love can restore life to those who feel dead. Another idea was born then, the leitmotif was to leave this hell behind. We came up with the idea of a community to take people in, where the only rule was to try to live out the Gospel.�

Nowadays, New Horizons has over 207 shelters and education centers, like this one. They have even expanded beyond Italy, opening two centers in highly troubled areas in Brazil.

For Amirante, trust in God and joy have served as her two main pillars. She detailed her story in a book titled, "E gioi sia. The secret to happiness.â? But just because it's published, she insisted her story isn't over, saying there are many blank pages left waiting to be filled. 

AC/RCA

MG

GDP

-PR

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