The Italians

The Italians are proving once more that democracy is a game that they like to play, but that they do not take seriously as a vehicle for the establishment of just laws. After World War II, they had at least one hundred governments before settling on one. At that time, one of those governments, I do not remember which, established the age of retirement at 26 years! That didn’t last long.

Anyway, they are at it again. New political parties propose to leave the EU and to do away with the Euro. As the fourth largest economy in Europe, Italy is causing havoc. The European market is fluctuating all over the place. Hopefully, soon the Italian parliament will elect a prime minister and form a just and sensible government. There is no guarantee that that will happen. The strength of the Italians is not in their national government, but as a people, in their caring and concern for the local community in which they live, so says NYT columnist, David Brooks.

Personally, I am inclined to agree with him. Over the last year or so, I have read several examples of this caring. Here is one of them.

Thirty-five years ago two brothers, a famous fabric designer and a prominent eye surgeon were successful, but spiritually unfulfilled. Through a local priest, the bothers and their wives found faith. Their faith lead to action through an H.I.V. infected infant which one brother and his wife agreed to foster.

This was the beginning of what became Cometa, a compound where couples live together with their foster children. Today, it is a common sight to see 40 children and five couples eating dinner around a u-shaped table.

Over the years, the townspeople got involved helping the compound grow so that now many more children who need love and support are helped through an after school program, a vocational high school, a parental counseling and mental health centers. Along with job related skills, the children are taught to understand and to create hospitable experiences through which they might enlighten others. Believing that beauty educates, the interiors of the buildings and their exteriors are worthy of reviews by “Home and Garden”.

Conceived in faith, born in compassion and sustained through love, others continue the work of the brothers and their wives in creating a caring place for needy children to thrive. This represents what the Italians do best.

 

 

 

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