Founder of the Focolare Movement
«A coexistence of people of every social category, of all ages, of both sexes, of the most varied vocations, which constituted, during the summer months, almost a temporary little city characterized by the practice, by all its inhabitants, of the new commandment of Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you”. (cf. Jn 13:34), the central norm of Jesus’ teaching».
«The idea was born in Trent, in Tonadico, in the Primiero Valley, where eight of the first ten summer Mariapolises took place, in the period from 1949 to 1959. The Mariapolises were a coexistence of people of every social category, of all ages, men and women, of the most varied vocations, which constituted, during the summer months, almost a temporary town characterized by the practice, by all its inhabitants, of the new commandment of Jesus: ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ (Jn 13:34), the central norm of Jesus’ teaching. One day during one of these Mariapolises, I was on a hilltop, admiring the green plain of the valley, and I seemed to understand that the Lord would have wanted one day, in some place, a town similar to the one that was taking place, but a permanent one; and, with my imagination, I ‘saw’ the valley populated with houses and cottages. […] But there was another moment when the idea of the permanent Mariapolis made its way into my mind. In Switzerland, during the summer of 1962, together with my first women and men companions, I was admiring the marvelous Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln surrounded by meadows and hotels. I understood (then) that also because of our spirituality, which was new in the Church, a little city would arise, almost an incarnation of it. It would have in itself the main elements of a modern city with houses, a church, shops, fields, various industries, and schools…».
So, in 1963, this dream came true on a piece of land of the “Fattoria Loppiano,” an estate owned by a family of entrepreneurs from Brescia, the Folonari: 100 hectares (247 acres) of vineyards and olive trees, now in the municipality of Figline and Incisa Valdarno, in the province of Florence.
The property was brought “as a dowry” by Vincenzo (Eletto) and Camilla Folonari, two of the four Folonari who left their comforts and titles to give everything to God in the Focolare, the new way of lay consecration opened by Chiara Lubich.
This is the wish that Chiara Lubich gave to Rina Nembrini and Zaccaria among the first families who moved from Bergamo to Loppiano in the late 60s. The history of the pioneers of Loppiano continues.
That same morning, during Mass, they had all gone to Communion. Father Angelo Dragoni, the pastor of Saint Vito Martyr Church, had never seen so many people in his church, all men to boot. He thought he was in heaven.
The stories, memories and memoirs of those who helped to found the little city of Loppiano.
Discover the stories and lives of our citizens in Heaven.
Giuseppe Garagnani, journalist and former director of the magazine Città Nuova, has returned to the house of the Father after four years spent in the Nuova Unità focolare in Loppiano.
Fabio: “The servant who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.”
Fabio left us on the evening of November 25, because of Covid. We collect here, some memories of his donated life.
Albert Dreston passed away on August 30, 2019. He had been a teacher, theologian, focolarino and leader of many generations of soccer in the Focolare town of Loppiano
Thursday, October 22, Giovanni Bertagna left us. A citizen of Loppiano, he was a lover of the Economy of Communion.