Making Friends:

Rebecca Favaretto of Siena, Italy

By DeAnne Walker

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    Rebecca Favaretto and her family live in the beautiful countryside of central Italy between the cities of Florence and Siena. This part of Italy still looks very much like it did long ago in medieval times. There are many old landmarks and buildings in this area, and it is easy to forget the busy modern world close by.

    The Favaretto family attends church in the Florence Branch, some distance from their home. “It takes us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to Florence, so we have to get up very early on Sunday mornings so we can get to church on time,” says Rebecca. Occasionally, some member of the family has other meetings or appointments after church on Sunday. When this happens, the whole family makes arrangements to stay in the city all day. For instance on the Sunday afternoon when Rebecca’s brother, Gianni, had his mission interview with the district president, her mother brought everything they needed to prepare their dinner at the church. Rebecca helped her mother prepare the meal and set the table in the kitchen at the church, and the whole family (plus a few guests) enjoyed dinner together.

    Rebecca has an unusual family. Most Italian families are small, but the Favaretto family has eight children: Geneiveve, 24; Gianni, 22; Elizabeth, 19; Andrea, 15; Matteo, 14; Rebecca, 12; Giorgio, 10; and Sara, 7. Rebecca’s father, Vittorio, was one of the very first Italian converts to the Church. Even before the gospel was being taught in Italy, he was baptized in London, England, while going to school there.

    Having a large family means that everyone has to share in the work. “Rebecca is a great help to me at home,” says her mother, Lynn. “She always cheerfully helps me with the chores around the house, and she is very kind to her younger brother and sister. She is especially a great help with her little sister, Sara. Sara has a speaking problem, and Rebecca spends a lot of time helping her read.”

    Rebecca enjoys going to school. She rides a bus to school, but since the Favaretto home is the last stop on the route, it doesn’t take too long to get there. “My favorite subject in school is languages,” she says. “I am learning to speak French and English!” Since school is compulsory only through fourteen years of age, Rebecca will have the choice at that time of going to work or continuing her studies for five more years in a specialized school, where she can choose the kind of career she would like to have.

    Of course, Rebecca—like children everywhere—also has some favorite things that she likes to do. “I like the times when we have sports at school—especially when we play volleyball. I like to sing, and I like to play with my cat, Leo,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

    In Italy, religion is taught in the public schools, and Rebecca attends these classes. Her mother explains, “We could have taken her out of the classes; but we decided that this was a good opportunity for her to talk about our church and what we believe as the students discuss various religions.” Rebecca and her brother, Matteo are the only members of the Church in their school.

    Rebecca is especially thankful for her family and for the Church. She knows that there are many children in the world who do not now have the gospel, and she hopes that some day they, too, will enjoy the blessings the gospel brings.

    Photography by Alfred W. Walker

    Rebecca spends a lot of time helping her little sister, Sara, read.

    Photograph courtesy of Favaretto family

    Rebecca and her family: (Standing, from left) Elizabeth, Gianni, Andrea. (Seated) Giorgio, Vittorio, Lynn, Sara, and Rebecca. (Not pictured: Geneiveve and Matteo.)