“The Cooperative, grafted in the citadel, is an example of love for creation and involvement of many people,” recalled Margaret Karram, president of Focolare, during the anniversary event, held in Loppiano May 27-28. Balance sheet in surplus after difficult years, entry of new members, relaunch projects and development goals for the coming years.
A budget surplus after years of negative results. A fiscal year 2022 balance sheet unanimously approved by the annual membership meeting. The entry of 23 new members into the Cooperative. The report on last year’s activities appreciated and enriched by a frank and constructive dialogue. The revival of the cooperative spirit in fidelity to the origins and new goals. The valuable talks of Margaret Karram and Jesús Moran, president and co-president of the Focolare Movement.
The event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Loppiano Prima Cooperative could not have started in a better way last May 27 and 28 at the Loppiano Auditorium, with an audience coming from all over Italy. “It is a milestone that deserves to be celebrated,” began President Karram by video link, “because of the profound significance it represents and because the Cooperative’s is a story that is grafted into God’s plan for the Citadel. And she stressed that “from the very beginning the Cooperative has been an example of love for creation, of care for the agricultural heritage, entrusted to the work and passion of many workers and professionals.”
Jesús Moran said, “Loppiano would not be Loppiano without the Cooperative, because the citadel would not be what it needs to be if you do not see people working, and the work of the land is what most reflects the nature of man as co-creator.” His expectations are clear: “We can dream of developments and innovations in all aspects of this work, so that it can increasingly be a model of a truly human economy, embedded in a citadel that shows the world a new way of being world.”
The thanks and good wishes of both of them gave wings to the participants and added meaning to the various aspects of the program. It started by retracing the beginnings of Loppiano Prima, through the telling of milestones and anecdotes and the viewing of photos of the courageous protagonists who made Chiara Lubich’s prophetic words their own.
“Love of Creation, a Prophecy on the Way” was the title given to the anniversary, which was intentionally organized during Laudato Si’ Week. Week. The theme was explored through a round table discussion with Leonardo Nale and Lorenzo Orioli, of the Laudato Si’ Movement, and Gianmaria Simonetti (EcoOne), who emphasized the cornerstones of a personal and collective culture and conduct in line with an integral ecology. Zaccaria and Rina Nembrini, one of Loppiano’s first families, recounted the attention given to the environment since the citadel’s and the Cooperative’s beginnings, while Luigi Castiglioni, president of Fattoria 4.0, illustrated the most recent choices and state-of-the-art techniques for guarding the Cooperative’s organic production. Finally, the challenge of economic and business sustainability in relation to love for creation was addressed by Maria Gabriella Baldarelli, professor of Accounting at the University of Bologna.
Sunday morning was marked by dialogue groups on ecology, development perspectives, and societal structure. The proceedings were preceded by an engaging talk “The Presence of God under Things” given by Sergio Rondinara, professor of Epistemology at Sophia University Institute. “God is not in things,” said Rondinara, “but He sustains all, all are connected by love,” quoting Chiara Lubich. “We are not only custodians of nature, but we are called to make it more beautiful.”
At the opening of the meeting, Loppiano directors had recalled that the citadel “needs the Cooperative to give witness, incarnation and proclamation of the Gospel in the light of the charism of unity,” while Focolare directors in Italy had reiterated “their commitment to support the citadel and the Cooperative.”
“The wish for all of us,” said Beatrice Vecchione, president of the board of directors of Loppiano Prima, “is to continue to work and persevere in this commitment with passion, to have unity as our goal, to always be able to act in full sharing and frank dialogue among all, with the spirit, faith and tenacity of those who, 50 years ago, chose to give birth to this reality. The celebration Saturday night at the Cooperative’s headquarters clearly expressed enthusiasm and conviction for the future.