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 Ruggeri, known as “Serdio”, focolarino carpenter, an artist of the art of love, passed away on Monday, October 19, 2020.
Here is the synthesis of the last farewell to Fr. Mario Bodega in the words of Bishop Meini and Fr. Natale Monza, his lifelong friend. Watch thevideo.
Hers is a fascinating story. It began when her very young parents swam across the Mekong River to reach Thailand, leaving behind the regime of their country, Laos.
To be able to say at the end of life: “I’ve always loved.”