Sunday, March 24, 2013

Italian tennis player Mara Santangelo: "I had it all but I was not happy"

Mara Santangelo is another prominent sports person who has been influenced by Medjugorje. She reached the top of world tennis in both singles and doubles. During her career she won 23 tournaments in doubles, nine tournaments in singles and 6 team championships. It seemed that the career and life of Mara Santangelo were perfect. She had sporting success, popularity and money. But the Italian player was not happy. A malformation of the foot that she had from birth caused her, in twelve years as a professional, to live with excruciating pain. Suffering that she has endured to keep a promise made years earlier to the most important person in her life: her mother, who died when she was a teenager. When I was ten years old and in the arms of my mother, watching on TV a match involving Martina Navratilova, I promised that one day I would become like her and play on the Wimbledon Centre Court. When I was 16, my mother, Patrizia Vinante-who was devoted to Our Lady of Fatima- died in a car accident in Trentino. And this promise to play at Wimbleton led me to fight and to go against all odds to achieve it.

Against all odds? "Because I was born with a malformation of the foot and then I had to face a lot of physical pain to dedicate myself to tennis at the professional level. There was no match in my career that was not played with stabbing pains in the foot. And she finally kept her promise and arrived on Wimbledon's Centre Court. "Yes,in 2005 with mixed feelings: on the one hand the joy of fulfilling the promise,on the other despair for not having completed the match against Williams because of excessive physical pain. Unfortunately in the best moment of my career, when I reached the 27th position in the world rankings in singles, I had another foot injury caused by posture.

After a period of reflection, there was my first trip to Medjugorje which changed my life completely. Soon after I left professionalism. " What changed her on this trip? " Going to Medjugorje I had the certainty and confirmation that my path would be another. It gave me serenity. "We wanted to follow the apparition of Our Lady to Mirjana on the mountain. Another pilgrim, a Brazilian healer recognized by the Church, asked for a sign from the Holy Spirit. In the sky near the mountains, at 3 am, we saw a very strong light. The clouds turned at high speed like a vortex. After a couple of minutes, there was the apparition. The tree next to us lit up in an exceptional whiteness". I left the court to undertake this spiritual journey. In my life there was little spiritual. Today, this path continues to give me happiness, that I had not before. When I played, despite having money and fame, I was not happy. I did not feel peace inside me. Today I'm fine. I left the wealth, the spotlight, the prestigious tournaments-things that many people think to be everything in life- but I feel happier. On the Hill of Apparitions in Medjugorje, Mara found the strength to get up. She was reborn in the arms of Mary, in the joy of faith. Mara Santangelo has now brought out a new book in Italian titled Te lo prometto (I promise you).

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