Museum of Faithful Hearts – opening

Museum of Faithful Hearts – opening

We invite you to the virtual museum, which was officially opened in May – the most beautiful month of the year, full of flowers and green (the color symbolizing hope). By visiting our museum – free of charge, at any time of the day and year – you will meet couples who have lived together for decades. And sometimes they had troubles much bigger than ours. So let’s not lose hope. WELCOME !

This initiative is inspired by the love story of Engelbert and Patricia Humperdinck. The famous “King of Romantic Songs” lived together with his wife for 56 years, which is not very common in the world of famous artists. Years ago, my wife and I attended his concert, and only last year, when his wife died, did I learn more about his life. I would like to share this with you at the end of the article. But first, let’s think about the problem faced by many couples today.

ARE THE MARRIAGE CRISES IRREVERSIBLE ?

Lack of communication and the incapacity to comprehend the other, see the positive side of the other person’s diversity, and establish the right distance with the families of origin, are often the causes of the crises, in an individualistic society that does not believe in marriage and the commitment for a long-lasting relationship.

The last editions of the course in Loppiano were organized by the New Families and aimed to strengthen the unity of couples. The course allowed participants to demonstrate willingness to put themselves to the test, together with a deep sharing with the course guides and other families, and avail of the advice of experts that could help dead-end relationships to start anew. With these factors, also the greatest difficulties could be overcome, as was demonstrated by the moving testimonial of unconditional forgiveness by a couple that was reunited after nine years of separation. However, the path towards “encounter” is complex. «Upon their arrival, the tense features and sad expressions of the couples conveyed their deep suffering, more than words,» recount Marina and Gianni Vegliach, course guides of the New Families. «Some spoke about the need to find a meaning, some spoke about an estranged partner, some doubted having a future together, while others referred to the impossibility of dialogue and some confided of “not being able to forgive themselves.».

«As we went deeper into the course programme entitled A course of light for the couple – continued Vegliach – the Focolare’s spirituality of unity, together with the psychological path, sharing of experiences, practical exercises, personal talks, and moments of recreation, helped to transform hearts and souls. And this showed through the changed expressions of their faces and eyes, which became more serene.»

«When we arrived we were empty, obsessed with the word “end” and now are going home with the words “start again,” a couple said. Among the course-guide families were two couples who had done the course in the past, and decided to put themselves at the service with commitment, seriousness and competence, and who managed to enter the tunnel with those who were in the dark, and encourage and support the couples with their own experiences.

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The course covered themes on self-knowledge, diversity, conflict, and acceptance of others, and helps the participants to identify their own particular suffering which has to be faced, possibly also with the psychological support of an expert. Sharing of experiences with other couples helps one to view his own personal situation from various standpoints, find the courage needed to rebuild a quality relationship, and escape from that solitude which makes the crisis seem irreversible.

A daily appointment at the “Theotokos” shrine and the special atmosphere of Loppiano, the international town of the Focolare in Incisa Valdarno (Florence) – where the inhabitants learn spontaneously to put themselves in others’ shoes and live in fraternity – contributed positively to the success of the course, and opened new possibilities to “look to the future together, share the ups and downs, rediscover dialogue and hope, and start caring for one another.”

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As someone said: «Now we have the means to leave the closed shell of our own selves and hope to continue using these tools at the right moment.»

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To consolidate these results, a week-end verification and assessment event has been organiszd for the winter. Furthermore, a meeting has been set in Castelgandolfo from 24 to 27 September 2015, which will be open to not more than 60 course guides and experts to discuss the possibility of holding additional “enlightening” courses also locally.

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Now we come back to the artist mentioned at the beginning. Engelbert Humperdinck was born in May 1936 as Arnold George Dorsey in Madras when India was still an English colony. His father was an officer of British Welsh origin. George was 10 when the family moved to England. He became interested in music and played saxophone in various clubs. He began his singer career after the age of 20 and gained popularity only after ten years, first in English-speaking countries, especially in New Zealand.

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He came from a Catholic family, as was his wife, Patricia Healey. They married in 1964 and had three sons and a daughter. He himself was one of 10 siblings and in one of the interviews he said that in each of the cities where he toured, he tried to visit the local cathedral. He was famous for the song “The Last Waltz” – (3:13) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYZEBXg5BXk , thanks to which he immediately climbed the world charts and the melody of which is probably still played on all continents today. Many artists sang it, incl. Mirelle Mathieu in French, Austrian Peter Alexander, and Dalida in Italian.

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Humperdinck couldn’t complain about the lack of popularity – especially among women who like romantic songs. Center: Illustration for the famous hit “Les bicycles of Belsize”.

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The list of his songs that became hits is too long, so let’s mention a few: Spanish eyes, The way it used to be – (3:14) https://www.youtube.com / watch? v = vtqG1D_86IE, Harbor lights, Winter world of love, Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (3:12) https://www.youtube.com / watch? v = lP9tIOR5sho, This is my song composed by Charlie Chaplina, or Latino songs – Solamente una vez / You belong to my heart, Yours and She brings him roses / Torrero – (4:00) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lPXFJ6ctA8. His albums have sold over 140 million. copies. Due to frequent travels with concerts – and he has performed at times over 100 times a year – he moved with his family to California.

Years later he returned to England, living in his native Leicester, where he spent his youth and began his musical career. He learned that his beloved wife suffered from Alzeihemer’s troublesome disease. She suffered for several years and finally did not even recognize her husband anymore. Engelbert suffered too, and maybe his faith helped him get through this difficult period. He spoke about it in television interviews with emotion. Patricia Dorsey-Humperdinck died peacefully in February last year.

My wife has done a lot of work to raise our children. We prayed often in the family, he recalled. Before Patricia died, I sprinkled her with holy water from Lourdes. This is how she went to Jesus, surrounded by the prayers of the closest family. Father Paul, our nephew, was present at the death. Goodnight Sweetheart. I would like to thank all those around the world who joined us in prayer. Forgive me for not answering your letters.

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