Turning a break-up into gold / English

Turning a break-up into gold / English

Federico and Laura, new parents in crisis, attend a course at the international center of Loppiano*. There they discover the art of healing wounds with the gold of forgiveness.

A family break-up

that turned into gold

Federico: An Italian and Uruguayan: what are the chances? Yet we happened to meet, seven years ago, at a Latin American center in Rome. I was there to give a hand running things, she to speak her language a bit. Our eyes met and we started to build a home together. Economic constraints, however, pushed us to leave the big city for my parents’ small village, especially because one of our greatest wishes was about to come true: our son was on the way. There was much happiness, but the stress of the birth and the rapid life changes didn’t give us any time to breathe.

Laura: As if that were not enough, my mother, who was taking care of my invalid father and my little brother, became seriously ill. I needed to immediately go to Uruguay for at least a couple of months, especially because time was running out for my mother to get to know our little one. In the meantime, Federico and I were living on two different planets: me shut in at home with the child, he always out to escape the tension between us. Whenever our eyes met there was only anger, exhaustion, misunderstanding. As I left I told him, “When I come back, we’re either going to break up or stay together forever.”

Federico: Our hearts became as distant as the physical separation. The months flew by, she didn’t return, and I found myself on a different path. To be honest with her, I felt I had to tell her that I didn’t want to get back together and that perhaps she should stay there where she was.

Laura: It hurt a lot, even though I expected it. I gathered my strength, put aside my suffering and decided to return to Italy, knowing that I had little chance. In fact, when I got back home, he didn’t want to hear anything about living with me.

International families at Loppiano.  Will they learn the international language Esperanto?

Federico: One day I confided to my brother what was happening, and he told me about a couple that had a lot of experience who could help us. The idea didn’t seem that convincing at all, but in the end, for the good of the child, I accepted. “Perhaps they can help us separate without touching off a war,” I said to myself. It was an afternoon at the end of May. In the garden where we met, the cherries were ripe, and everything spoke of hope and peace. Yet in our hearts opposing feelings were rebelling. The man’s strong handshake and the delicate face of his wife gave me shivers along my spine. I saw that Laura, too, was moved. We talked with them for a half-hour. That night I left behind everything and returned home. As I entered, tears ran down my face, but my soul seemed to fly. Maybe I could do this!

Laura: When I saw Federico come back I couldn’t believe it. Our next appointment with that couple was at Loppiano (near Florence), where we met other friends of theirs, couples who were having difficulties like us. But the change in us had already begun.

At the course organized by New Families of the Focolare Movement, the first thing they talked to us about – almost like a game – was the Japanese art of kintsugi*, where a broken ceramic vase is not thrown away, but glued together with gold. Doing so, it becomes even more valuable.

The new atmosphere we were breathing in there was renewing us without us realizing it. We understood that forgiveness was the gold that could put us together again, and we asked it of each other. We found the strength to give of ourselves to each other.

Federico: It was a mix of the spirituality of unity, which the course was based on; advice from experts; and the support from the other couples that strengthened our desire to be reborn again as a couple and gave us a fundamental push to change. Ever since, each day we tell each other that we’re ready to start again, without taking anything for granted and making the effort to step in each other’s shoes.

Laura: After two years we got to the point where we were able to make an important decision: to get married in Church, so that Love par excellence could watch over our life together and continue flowing forever. Now we are expecting our second child in July. Truly the love of God knew how to write straight on our crooked lines!


At the end, we send you the Song for family:  Padre Zézinho – Oração pela familia (4:49) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IRFxJI0Rm8 .  And here is the English translation:  

Let no family start at all suddenly  /  That no family should end for lack of love.

Let the couple be to each other of body and mind  /  And that nothing in the world separates a dreamy couple!

Let no family take shelter under the bridge.  /   Let no one interfere in the home and in the life of the two.  /  Let no one force you to live without any horizon. 

May they live from yesterday, from today due to a later.  /  Let the family begin and end knowing where it goes.  /  And let the man carry the grace of a father on his shoulders. 

May the woman be a heaven of tenderness, warmth and warmth.  /  May the children know the power that flows from love!

That husband and wife have the strength to love without measure.  /  Let no one go to sleep without asking or giving his forgiveness.  /  Let the children learn on their lap, the meaning of life.  

Let the family celebrate embracing and sharing the bread!  /  That husband and wife should not betray or betray their children.  /

  May jealousy not kill the certainty of love between the two.  /  That in its firmament the star that has greater brightness.  

Be the firm hope of a heaven here and then  /  Let the family begin and end knowing where it goes  /  And let the man carry the grace of a father on his shoulders

May the woman be a heaven of tenderness, warmth and warmth;  /  May the children know the power that flows from love! 

Aerial view of Loppiano

* Loppiano is the permanent town of the Focolare Movement in Toscania, Italy. The development of the Focolare little towns can be traced through a series of events and intuitions experienced by Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement.


There is a note in one of Chiara Lubich’s diaries which recalls a visit to a Swiss abbey in 1962 where she experienced the first intuitions of the idea of having ‘little towns’ inhabited by the people of the Focolare Movement. She wrote: “It was at Einsiedeln that I understood, from looking at the abbey church below and all that was surrounding it, that a town of the Movement should develop, which wouldn’t be made up of an abbey or hotels, but rather of simple houses, work places, schools – just like an ordinary town.” These developments grew and are known today as little towns or permanent Mariapolis.

Today, many little towns exist in more than 30 countries, but the first one was built on the hills near Florence. Currently, there live 900 people of whom 70 come from 5 continents: they are men and women focolarini, families, young people, and other persons of many different ways of the life. Each year an average of 40 thousand visitors pass through Loppiano.

Around 1000 youth from all over the world and especially from Italy meet every year for the celebration of the “primo maggio” (May the 1st) in Loppiano. They are involvement in the movement Youth for United World /Y4UM.  It is a big celebration prepared by the youth who live in Loppiano and it includes songs, traditional dances, experiences etc… all to spread the ideal of universal fraternity.  

* * Kintsugi (“golden joinery” or “golden repair”) is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquerdusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.


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