By Maddalena Maltese
from Living City, November 2011
LoppianoLab is a multi-event forum where people share experiences about how the spirituality of the Focolare can contribute to the endeavors of the lay world. The Focolare spirituality is based on unity and is grounded in embracing separation and disunity with love. The second LoppianoLab conference, held September 16–18, covered the areas of business and the economy, with special attention given to the Economy of Communion, education, culture, medicine and the media.
With the background of the economic and political crisis that is affecting the world, the tremendously energetic LoppianoLab 2011 drew more people every day, imbuing people’s exchange of ideas with a powerful sense of hopefulness.
The last day was dedicated to businesses, workshops and the Economy of Communion, and it was truly electrifying. The experts gave way to those offering a personal or collective testimony demonstrating a daring commitment to invest in their local communities by living out values, ethics and faith in their businesses, in education, in the media, in the Church, in cultural and academic circles, factories and art studios.
LoppianoLab’s logo is made out of five Cs. In the examples of life shared on the last day, the words these letters stand for shone particularly brightly.
Ideas and original contributions stem from relationships of mutual love, because love carries within itself the potential for social change. Creativity is the opposite of resignation; it is the humble pride of those who put everything on the line in the name of faith that tells them they are making history.
Philosophers, sociologists, theologians and artists did not arrive with preconceived solutions. They sat down and put their heads together with everyone else, seeing their role primarily as service. Their theories helped find the soul of the crisis and the soul with which to emerge from it.
At the conference, relationships were formed between North and South, between countries that are struggling toward democracy and countries with a strong democratic identity, between the weather-beaten fishermen of the Adriatic Sea and women’s co-ops in Northern Italy. In times of economic crisis these relationships have a lot to offer.
This is not a place for lonely heroes but for people who share ideals and want to work together. These people are not afraid to shoulder the responsibilities of brotherhood and love that turn an anonymous group into a community. LoppianoLab gave people a chance to discover the wealth that lies in diversity, the capacity of art to give meaning to what is just useful, the place of young people within society and the fresh energy brought by immigrants. This energy widens our borders and expands our civic spaces.
The backbone of every country is formed by a silent majority. Now this silence is turning to language and engaging openly with institutions and the media. The city belongs to everyone, and we are not going to delegate our future and our hope to others.
Are you in?
—With Giovanna Pompele
The Lionello Bonfanti Business Park in Incisa Valdarno, Italy. Industrial parks for EoC businesses are located near Focolare little cities around the world. Their aim is to present a complete model of a renewed society based on a culture of fraternity.