By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on HIV and AIDS
The news of Elizabeth Taylor’s death brings back vivid memories of the day that she visited Caritas Rome’s “Villa Glori” residence for people living with HIV and AIDS.
In the late 1980s, Caritas Romana was among the first organizations in Italy to set up such a residence. It was a time when people living with AIDS were feared and rejected, often by their own family members. Fear and rejection were not within the vocabulary – or heart – of Msgr. Luigi Di Liegro, then- Director of Caritas Romana.
One night I accompanied “Don Luigi” on a walk through his neighbourhood to check on the street people who camped out near his house; he knew each by name and was interested in what they might need and encouraged them to go to the shelter, another service maintained by Caritas Romana. Continue reading