Soul provider

By Barbara J. Mangione ’89 M.A.

She sits at the gate of the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Rome’s Via Aurelia, paper cup in her outstretched hand and eyes pleading with the well-dressed throng hurrying into Sunday Mass. Her clothes are shabby and layered for warmth against the chill of a gray October morning. On her lap is a small child bundled in a too-large coat. It is impossible to tell whether it is a boy or a girl. My steps slow slightly as I pass her. In my pocket is a single euro coin to drop into the collection basket, in my ears the Roman lament about the “gypsies.” “Why don’t they find jobs? They are young. They just don’t want to work.” I keep walking.…

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