«It was a peaceful autumn morning and I didn’t mind the idea of going to visit my home turf. So much peace and poetry: until the farmhand said to me: “Sir, what do you think? This would be the year to plant new vines. . .” And why was he asking me? What did it have to do with me? I didn’t “own” any of these things. I was living on rent, hanging, and just as dependent on the work of others as the vine trees themselves.»
This was written by Guglielmo Boselli – “Guglia” as he was more familiarly known – as he many years later recalled the moment that would mark his life forever: “I was free, I was rich, there were many options open to me in life.” He continues: “But now I am no longer the landowner. I’ve become son of the King. And everything is mine, because it all belongs to my Father. He distributes it to me in wisdom, joys and sufferings, making me always more similar to Himself. Lord, who could explain my joy?”
Gugliermo had been born into an aristocratic family in Carpi, Italy. In the spring of 1950, while a student of architecture at the Polytechnic Institute of Milan he would go to the “Cardinal Ferrari Center,” which offered food and lodging to students and workers. There he met Ginetta Calliari, one of the first companions of Chiara Lubich.
He describes the event. “This evening at the canteen, as everyone finished their supper, I went up to the table where Ginetta was seated. And she never grew tired of sharing what she called “the Ideal.” In the end, her table looked like an anthill: besides all the people seated around her, there were also many people standing and listening. We would never have gone away. There was such a great peace, such a fullness of life that no one had ever experienced before. . .”
Little by little, conquered by this new way of living, Guglia came to the decisive realization that “the Gospel cannot be understood with the head as much as it can be with the heart.” He left his fiancé and gave away his possessions to the poor. In 1952 he followed God’s call and entered the focolare in Rome.
He writes of that day: “Today, Ash Wednesday of the Year 1952 (. . .) I consecrated my life to God; and I’ve never felt so in tune with the times as I do now. I had everything that anyone could humanly desire and I left it all behind. I was esteemed by all, and I gave it up. I had a brilliant future ahead of me, and I gave it up. And – in total contrast to the dullness of this world that surrounds me, the bitterness in people’s souls, reaching for shadows – I am happy, immensely happy, with a happiness that many do not know, that many cannot even begin to imagine.”
He lived in several cities in Italy. Everywhere it was an adventure. In Florence, for example, as an architect and count, the only work he could find was in a ceramic factory, designing the same flower on the same pieces of ceramic all day long.
A fundamental event occurred at the 1956 Mariapolis in the mountains of Trent, Italy. At the conclusion of this vacation with the people of the focolare, he had an idea for keeping people in touch when they returned to their homes. Città nuova was begun and Guglia was one of the first to write articles for its mimeograph pages. This is how his journalistic career began, first as editor and then director for forty years, until his last day of life on this earth.
In 2001 when she shared the news of his sudden departure for Heaven because of a cerebral hemorrhage, Chiara Lubich wrote: “My first reaction? A clear light, even joy, I would say, because I felt I could truthfully say that Guglia had accomplished God’s plan for him.”