Loppianolab and Fraternity

29 Sep 2020 | Life, Loppianolab

The events of the eleventh edition of Loppianolab continue, with the second webinar in 2020, dedicated to the theme of fraternity, so dear to Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement and the little city of Loppiano, whose centenary is celebrated this year.


This 11th event of Loppianolab included a webinar titled The Contagious Fraternity, transmitted on September 24, 2020 from the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park, a main reference point for Italian companies that belong to the Economy of Communion Project, as well as others who share a vision of the world and economy that is inclusive and geared toward the integral development of the human person, society and Creation.

Professor Michele Zanzucchi from the Sophia University Institute was the moderator, presenting the webinar in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and the fear and isolation it produced: «Fear is one of those human emotions that reveals our limitations and our finiteness, as Simone Weil would say, that can make us better men and better women. So, even the coronavirus can help us to discover our real dimensions. This is what we have been experiencing for the past few months: We’ve realized that we need other human beings, we need to be a network, to form many networks that make up the human race.»

The title of the webinar was “The Contagious Fraternity,” an idea that was very dear to Chiara Lubich who already mentioned it in some notes from 1949:

[…] I felt that I had been created as a gift to the person near to me and that person was created by God as a gift to me. Just as the Father in the Trinity is all for the Son and the Son is all for the Father. On earth, everything is in a relationship of love with everything else, every thing with every thing. But you have to be Love in order to find this golden thread among all beings. [1]

Herein lies the seed of that “gift” which was conveyed to Creation as a gift from God, the seed of giving-and-receiving love which leads to social love, to fraternity, and to humankind’s fulfillment. This is the culture that springs forth from the anthropological vision which is generated by Chiara Lubich’s charism of unity.

Art historian Marta Michellacci translated the experience of “being a gift” into the language of art, highlighting how even in contemporary art, in the works of some artists, including street artists, we can find alternatives to today’s systems of social development, ranging from eco-sustainability to caring for the marginalized who are living on the peripheries of life – to building relationships.

Then, Filomena Maggino, Head of Benessere Italia Control Room of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, drew attention to the opportunity we have at this time of recovery when important decisions must also be taken in terms of investment. The whole person must be placed at the center with all of his and her personal ones, like quality of life, health, lifestyle, training, spirituality; but also those that place him in relation to others, such as social and economic cohesion… «I think – she explained – that if we can bring back the compass to these issues, overcoming the logic that has put GDP at the center of the great decisions of the past, then, yes indeed, we could see a paradigm shift. I think that in Italy … we need to work in this direction to enhance the territories, rebuild their identity, as an added value. Reconstruction of the community also means rebuilding the trust of its citizens towards Institutions, as well as the trust among themselves, the interpersonal trust that allows us to live as citizens but above all as brothers and sisters.»

The Quid Project was also presented as an example of an initiative that generates fraternity, reconciling fashion, the environment, work and social inclusion of the vulnerable. Begun by Anna Fiscale, the project employs 150 workers, 95% of whom are women, and 70% of them from experiences of brokenness: victims of trafficking, prostitution, disability and addiction. She told: «In the Quid Project we collect and recycle fabric that is often discarded by the industry, giving it a new life and, at the same time, restoring the dignity of people who would otherwise be left on the margins of society. These two weaknesses, these two limitations, begin to flower in new life through the Quid Project.»

Set designer, Enzo Gagliardi, presented Crossing, a project that enhances the trace that traces the ancient Mediterranean trading routes that allowed trade and encounter (as well as clashes) among civilizations. The project included colleagues from the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples and the University Federico II, the Custody of the Holy Land, the NGO New Humanity and the Armonia tra i Popoli Association of Montecatini.

Rebeca Gomez, CEO of Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park announced a similar program that would be accredited by the Organizing Committee to host the young people who will participate in the large event promoted by Pope Francis, “The Economy of Francis”, to be held on 19 and 21 November 2020. She explained that «the Organizing Committee wants the  young people to participate from different places in the world and to be connected to everyone else, in order to avoid living The Economy of Francis home alone, on the couch with cell phone in hand. We encourage local organizing, but the motto will be ‘Where Two Or More’, No One Alone.»

Loppianolab, which provides a platform for Italy, for discussion on economy, politics, art and communication, has been held in the Focolare town of Loppiano since 2010. It is promoted by the Sophia University Institute, the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park, and the international town of Loppiano in collaboration with the Città Nuova Publishing House.

[1] C. Lubich, Maria, Città Nuova, Rome 2017, pp. 45-46



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