The end of August came with a visit to the Prislop Mesteacăn monastery (Maramureș County) for the children, young people, and instructors at the "Red Valley" small group home in Baia Mare and with an unexpected encounter.
At the proposal of their instructors, the children were taken to visit the Prislop Monastery. The instructors invited the staff taking care of children also to spend time together and share their experience of helping vulnerable children in a less formal setting.
The children and the young could not wait for the departure day because they knew from their instructors’ stories how beautiful that place was. But they also knew something else. "Codru", as they called one of their former colleagues, was there. They were anxious to see him, and the boy was waiting for this moment as well. They met him on the road to the monastery: he was attending to the buffalos in the field, quite far from the monastery, in a place where he was one with nature, feeling well and safe, and gentle to the animals he was attending to. He saw the group from far away and ran happily to welcome them. He had tears in his eyes. The emotion of seeing each other was particularly deep and sincere, accompanied by joy. Then came the stories, the reminders, and hugs immortalizing the moment.
After seeing Codru again, the children went to the monastery to meet the priest Irineu Bârle. Once you pass the gate to the monastery, you discover stories. 80 stories in total. The destiny of young people who were changed by this priest, Codru among them.
The priest welcomed the group calm, smiling, his voice gentle and warm. He gave them advice about faith, life, comfort, and love, about peace and restlessness, lying and truth, about how important it is to live in harmony in any family, with friends, with colleagues and everyone else around, about respect, simplicity, and caring for others, forgiveness and joy. The joy of simple things and gestures accompanied by smiles that should not be missing to any one of us.
The priest then invited them to lunch, showed them the garden with vegetables and the animals which everyone there takes care of, as in a real family. All children and adults were thrilled by what they saw, lived, and heard. "I'm happy. We were in heaven " was the conclusion of a young boy after this visit. And his colleagues and instructors agreed unanimously.
Text by Sorina Moldovan, instructor