When I want to become friends with someone I tell them:

WOULD YOU LIKE to COME OVER for DINNER?

story of an (extra)ordinary mom, Franca.

Last summer I had a blast spending two and a half months back in my hometown of Reggio Emilia in Italy. A bit of history: I am originally from there and packed my bags for America in 2015 with my family of 7 — yes, seven!

Whenever my kids are out of school, I make a beeline back there to spend precious time with my parents (they’re not big fans of flying), catch up with friends, and soak in all the hidden beauty around every corner! At least, that’s how it feels to me —probably because I’ve been away for a good eight years.

 

Now, here’s the story I want to share with you: while I was soaking up the Italian summer, some special friends from Milano came by for a visit and it was wonderful! Picture this: gnocco fritto,” “culatello,” and a lot of lively chatter — it was the perfect Italian dinner scene. That’s when my good friend, Franca, (along with her husband and adorable grandkids) dropped her incredibly heartwarming story. Franca shared with us how a piece of their tablecloth found a new home — it’s now part of the Mantle of Mercy of Our Lady of Oropa. Talk about a touching story! Here I will share with you the story in Franca’s own words. 

patchwork for Mary's mantel
“Well, first of all, setting a table with care means that you are expecting someone. Therefore, this sense of anticipation — that you want to show the good and beautiful and the act of welcoming itself — is for me a pinnacle of life.  Sitting at the table and eating together with friends, with family, with even unknown people brought by friends or by our kids, is a precious moment. Because there you are calm, because dinner is at the end of the day or on Sunday when you have more time available. In those moments you talk about yourself, and with an extra glass of wine when everyone becomes more open it’s even easier! And you talk about yourself, about the day, beautiful things, ugly things, you put them on the table, on the tablecloth, the difficulties. Sometimes you even stay in silence but silence is part of life so it’s not less. It’s part of being human. For me, a beautiful moment is when the kids start to grow up and at the table all the most burning issues come out for them. From teenagers to college students. I believe that telling stories at the table is surely beautiful — easier because there’s time, because you eat well, because you’re together. That’s why I chose to donate a piece of my tablecloth for the Mantle of Mary in Oropa, because thanks to God I’ve experienced great moments around the table with great people who have always been close to my heart and whom I have loved dearly. Unfortunately, some are no longer with us. When I want to become friends with someone I tell them: ‘come to dinner at our place,’ because for me, at the table, the beauty of a life is revealed. That’s why I sent a piece of my tablecloth!”
Franca
Below is a real pic of Italian “Torta Fritta” or “Gnocco fritto” as you’d like to call it :)) We eat it the very first night we landed there. We are obsessed with it. It feels like home.

I know you are drooling right now! You can try to follow the recipe in the link above. It is super easy!!!

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