“C’è una veste bianca anche per noi”

Published : 12/17/2020 08:29:31
Categories : News

“C’è una veste bianca anche per noi”

"C’è una veste bianca anche per noi" the new book published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana - Dicastero per la Comunicazione della Santa Sede, by Vittore De Carli, "is not a book to read, to study", or to learn how to "do" something. This "is a book for conversing". To initiate a dialogue, to create and cultivate a friendship, to sow questions and answers, to seek together "a higher wisdom, a more humble thought, a more sincere prayer". To discover, together, that "there is a white robe for us too". Thus the Archbishop of Milan, Mario Delpini, Metropolitan of Lombardy, writes in the preface to the volume.

It is a text that collects the stories of sixteen people who have contracted the coronavirus. Sixteen stories whose common denominator is the experience of the disease. But this is only the first level of the discourse. Because there is something deeper that unites them: the dimension of testimony. Those sixteen people - fathers and mothers, professionals and workers, doctors and nurses, lay people but also priests and, among them, even a bishop, the one from Cremona - are above all witnesses.

There are those who have recovered and have been able to tell De Carli about their experience in the first person. And there are those who didn't make it, and their story is entrusted to the voice of those who knew, supported and loved them. But all sixteen - those who returned to life after risking death, those who received the gift of a new life - have in common the fact - using the language of the Apocalypse from which the book's title is taken - of having passed through the "great tribulation" and of having washed their clothes "making them white in the blood of the Lamb".

The 'great tribulation' is the coronavirus pandemic that in the spring of 2020 had its epicentre in Lombardy, Italy: and they are all from Lombardy, those sixteen (and there is also someone from the 'red zone' of Lodi), although their stories take on a value that goes beyond all borders and affiliations. The "white robe" is a sign of martyrdom. Understood in its authentic meaning of witness. Because this is what the sixteen of the book are: witnesses. They do not speak of themselves and for themselves, but to others and for others. With their stories of illness, suffering, loneliness, solidarity, which for some culminated in recovery, for others in agony and death, these witnesses provoke our intelligence, our freedom, our heart, our faith. In these stories, the meaning of life and the fundamental relationships with others, with ourselves, with God, are at stake. They are testimonies that call for "a higher wisdom", as Archbishop Delpini acknowledges. And they do so not with edifying speeches, but with the recounting of concrete experiences, often dramatic, always moving, where in the tragedy of the pandemic the rays of sunshine of solidarity, a smile and hope manage to creep in. Encountered while walking 'in the company' of friends and family, of doctors, nurses, chaplains. And of God. Family and faith are the two sure footholds in the trials of illness that these stories provide. Put to the test, certainly. But ultimately reliable. The book also shows the much hidden good that happened in the terrible months of the first wave of the pandemic. And they are, all of them, precious assets for the new time of trial, with the pandemic becoming threatening and deadly again.

The book also collects and restores stories of people unknown to the general public. Only the illness and recovery of the Bishop of Cremona, Antonio Napolioni, and the sacrifice of Gino Fasoli - a retired doctor who returned to duty to help his colleagues in an emergency and was killed by the virus - have had any media coverage. As for the rest: in the book we meet mothers and fathers, workers, pensioners, priests, people with disabilities, volunteers, all unknown to the media circus. And there are previously unpublished extracts and pages from Fasoli himself. On the subject of volunteers: commitment to Unitalsi, of whose Lombardy section De Carli is president, is one of the traits that unites the people and stories told in these pages. Well, in 2021 Unitalsi Lombarda will celebrate its hundredth anniversary. Doing so in the dramatic scenario of this pandemic becomes - also with the help of De Carli's book - an opportunity to deepen and renew the identity and mission of Unitalsi. Its testimony of charity, service, proximity. And it is emblematic that De Carli wanted to dedicate the book to a person who lived the love for the last ones in hiding and up to the total gift of himself: don Roberto Malgesini, the priest of the diocese of Como killed on 15 September 2020 by one of the poor people he helped. He wore his 'white robe' every day without anyone noticing. And it is a new testimony, to enlighten the path of each one to the discovery that indeed "there is a white robe for us too".

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