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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Project Casa Shalom, Italy

Maria Meier

We are happy to introduce you to Maria Meier, a widow of German descent, who has lived in Italy for years. This past February we visited her in the mountains of Tuscany and we were very much impressed with the work she does. She gave up her life to help those in need. Her house is truly a refuge!

Maria helps people with life controlling problems, whether addictions, mental, social or psychological disorders. It is possible to come to this Christian therapeutic community (Comunita Brezzano, a Swiss non-profit) for a short or long term stay and work on the land. The sheep, chickens, olive trees, vegetable garden, grape vines and maintenance of the houses and grounds provide enough work to stay busy. The group is small, most of the time no more than 3 or 4 people.

This community is a member of the Evangelical Alliance in Italy and the Association of Christian Life Support in Switzerland. They are also connected with the Messianic movement. Maria has a big heart for the Jewish people and she regularly receives people in need, from Israel, into her community. When we visited many languages were spoken (Italian, German, English, Hebrew and Russian).

Marmalade kitchen
The rehabilitation work in this community, three homes, is being financed through donations. Maria lives with her two grown children in one house. This is also the communal kitchen and the place where she shelters troubled women. Next to this house a new small building is being constructed: a marmalade kitchen. The sale of biological jam brings in some money, but the production has to comply with European Hygiene standards. So, a separate work and bottling kitchen is being erected.

Casa Shalom
Another home is Casa Nuova, a little bit further up in the mountains. Staff member Boris lives and works there and shelters men with various problems. The third house is called Casa Shalom. This house is even higher on a hill and it is rented out as a guesthouse to families and church groups. This brings in some income as well. All three houses are old, authentic Tuscan homes, beautiful of course, but always in need of maintenance, renovation and upgrading according to European safety standards.

Currently they are working on finishing the marmalade kitchen and on upgrading Casa Shalom. Quite a financial burden. We believe it will bless and encourage Maria when we help her with a gift of 5,000 euro. Are you willing to help too?

PS: In one of the following blog posts we will share some more photo's and testimonies.

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