«These schools are for the formation of apostles who will help to build a more united world, citizens of the world, capable of understanding the world.”»
The School for Men and Women Focolarini
Villa Eletto & Campo Giallo
The School for Focolarini at Loppiano provides formation for men and women who want to dedicate their lives to God by living in one of the small focolare communities that are scattered in 180 countries around the world.
they will work for the fulfillment of Jesus’s prayer “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). During the two and a half years in Loppiano, they learn the Italian language, receive a basic education in theology and the history of the world and its peoples, work at regular jobs and are immersed in the Focolare spirituality of unity. Loppiano provides an international environment whose social life is based on Gospel love that opens the heart and the mind to the whole human race and its richness.
This personal and collective experience began with the Mariapolises of the 1950s and continues until today in the various little cities and Focolare communities around the world. The focolarinos leave everything: homelands, careers and personal aspirations to contribute to the realization of Jesus’s prayer and to help spread universal brother and sisterhood throughout the world. The School for Men Focolarinos at Loppiano was inaugurated on January 21, 1965. In the autumn of that same year, the women moved into the property at Villa Eletto. On November 20, 1965, the official inauguration of the Mystici Corporis Institute was held in the presence of Ermenegildo Cardinal Florit and 25 Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.
Casetta Ideale (Ideal House) & Giovanni Battista (John the Baptist House)
The Boys and the Girls Gen Schools at Loppiano are geared toward the younger generations of the Focolare Movement
A main feature of this experience is interculturality, where diversity becomes mutual enrichment through welcoming the other, his and her people and culture. It is to experience unity in diversity as a path of life towards universal fraternity. The Gen Schools offer young people a spiritual, theological, anthropological and social formation in the light of the Focolare spirituality of unity. The goal of the formation program is to respond to the questions of young people regarding their own identity and calling in life, and to help prepare them to be men and women capable of dialogue. The constant connection between life, work and study translates the academic content into concrete daily experiences. Overall, it is an intercultural experience in which diversity becomes mutually enriching through the acceptance of other persons, of their peoples and of their cultures and experiencing that unity in diversity as a way of life that leads to universal brother and sisterhood.
The first Gen School was inaugurated by Chiara Lubich in Grottaferrata, Italy, on March 31, 1976. The Boys Gen School was moved to Loppiano in 1984 and the Girls Gen School in 1987. The schools for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are held from September to June.
«The Gen School isn’t just for your own personal formation so that you can be good Gen, but so that you might go back and help the Gen Movement in your own countries.»
Chiara Lubich to the first Gen School, March 31, 1976
Diocesan Priests, Deacons and Seminarians
Vinea Mea Center of Spirituality for Diocesan Priests, Deacons and Seminarians
How can we help diocesan priests, deacons and seminarians to be “ministers capable of warming people’s hearts, of walking beside them in the night, of dialoging with them in their illusions and disappointments and mending their brokenness?” (See: Pope Francis to the bishops of Brazil 27 July 2013)
These would be meaningful questions for the whole Christian community in the light of the Second Vatican Council, and Saint John Paul II offered an answer in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte: “Making the Church the home and school of communion: this is the great challenge facing us in the millennium that is beginning, if we want to be faithful to God’s plan and also respond to the profound expectations of the world” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 43).
Ever since 1984, the Vinea Mea Center of Spirituality at Loppiano has been offering a holistic formation to priests, deacons and seminarians which can assist them in living the effective synodality within the Church. It is a school of life for men called to proclaim the Gospel and are formed in a life of communion and dialogue with their bishops, fellow priests, parishioners and men and women of every culture and creed.
«Put everything aside, strip yourselves of every pretext of power, to assure the presence of Jesus in your midst, living like children of God’s Kingdom. In this way, it will be inevitable that Jesus will bring about a “new” pastoral method, “new” priests, “Christ-priests,” for humanity, ready to give their life for all.»
Because of the commitment of the participants to live Gospel love in an intentional way, the experience at Vinea Mea is an experience of brotherhood that forms priest into men of communion at the service of others.
Emmaus Center of Spirituality for Women Religious and Members of Consecrated Life & Claritas Center of Spirituality for Men Religious and Members of Consecrated Life
The Claritas Center of Spirituality for Men Religious and Members of Consecrated Life, and the Center of Spirituality for Women Religious and Members of Consecrated Life, provide formation in the Focolare Spirituality of Unity. They were inspired by Chiara Lubich who also gave them a sentence of the Gospel to guide them: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” (John 17:22).
These schools are intended for members of Institutes of Consecrated Life, Societies of Apostolic Life and new forms of consecrated life. The language spoken in the centers is Italian, with translations into other languages. The program is agreed upon with participants in accordance with their time and availability. The experience can also be an alternative way to carry out their own spiritual exercises.
«The Church has recognized a charism in the Work of Mary, which is meant for everyone, also for Religious. This charism reinforces and revitalizes what lies at the basis of every spirituality, in such a way that the Institutes are better able to translate the Word of the Gospel into their particular life. The Centers of Spirituality for Men and Women Religious at Loppiano would like to be this communion of holiness offered by the sons and daughters of the founders, a Gospel unfolded, illumined by unity.»
P. Andrea Balbo OFM
Families come from every corner of the world to spend a period of their lives at the Loreto School in Loppiano, a school where they can learn about family life in the light of the Focolare Spirituality of Unity.
Chiara Lubich hoped that, through this school, families could relive “the experience of the Holy Family of Nazareth” where mutual love reigned because of the presence of Jesus in its midst. The same mutual love can draw the presence of Jesus into the midst of any family today. Founded in 1982, the Loreto School is also a school of brotherhood among families that integrates the spirituality of unity with the contributions of psychology and anthropology that regard fundamental aspects of family life such as: the relationship of the couple, the education of children, the care of physical and mental health, social life and ecology.
There is also an international dimension to the school and the full-time immersion in the life of the little city that lives according to the Gospel spirit of universal brother and sisterhood. It is a unique experience of growth and sharing among cultures, also for the children who have the opportunity of attending local public schools. Over the years, the hundreds of families who have spent time at the Loreto School have returned home to become active in serving the world of the family and helping the world around them to discover the joy of living like one big family.
Men and Women Volunteers
La Visitazione e Regina Mundi
The Volunteers of God are lay people who strive to live the Spirituality of Unity in a radical way, in the midst of society. They work for the realization of universal brother and sisterhood wherever they live and work. Their specific task is to live and work for society while living Jesus’s new commandment: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34 – 35).
The two Schools of Formation for Men and Women Volunteers – Regina Mundi House and The Visitation House – are based in Loppiano so that they can help each other in contributing to renewing society and spreading a culture of unity. Since 1984, numerous groups of men and women Volunteers of God have come to Loppiano for a more intense immersion in the Spirituality of Unity, enriched by the multi-ethnic and multi-vocational context of the Focolare town.
“The world is in need of credible witnesses, builders of a new humanity in every environment of society,” Chiara Lubich insisted when referring to the Volunteers of God. In Loppiano, they can find a place to stay a while and be formed in some important aspects of their specific calling in the Work of Mary.