“Today there is a real and urgent need to remember those who have done good. This is the much needed response to a culture that only has a memory for the aggression and negativity of the human person. These are the words of psychotherapist and educator, Michele De Beni who stresses the positive and important influence that educators can have on the development of a personality and its potential.
These issues are dealt with in the book, “Essere educatori” which is edited and published by Citta Nuova and was presented on May 3, 2012 at the University of Bergamo (Italy) – Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – where the figure of Chiara Lubich the educator was remembered and celebrated.
The book traces the unique teaching experience of the young Silvia Lubich (more known as Chiara) and deals with pedagogical issues that are very relevant today: the value of the tradition and innovation, the formation of conscience, the fields being opened by new knowledge, the need for new types of skills, the need for educational renewal, the centrality of the educational relationship, inclusion and dialogue.
The book comes with a DVD titled: “La maestra Silvia non aveva la matita rossa” (Miss Silvia the teacher didn’t have a red pencil) by Donato Chiampi. It contains reminiscences and previously unpublished events from ex-students and colleagues.
From Castello in Val di Sole where Chiara taught during the 1938-1939 school year, Caterina, Carmela, Dolores and Edda recall that in Chiara’s class which was comprised of 42 boys from all five classes, the teacher didn’t limit herself only to didactic activities.. In her class you also learned education, brotherhood and . . . how “to love one another.”
There were also students who were “failing” – they recall – but “until they reached the same level as the others, Chiaa would continue to repeat things for them and wait for anyone who was lagging behind. During her last week with us she continued to encourage us to remain united, to help each other, especially the elderly.” When the school year ended, Chiara continued to remain in lively contact with them through notes and letters.
Capuchin Father Contardo Zeni, an ex-student from the Institute for orphans where Chiara taught: “Miss Silvia was truly a mother for us! When she wanted to ask us a question she would say, ‘And you? What do you think? What do you say?’ Then she would respond based on the things you had said. She respected the personality of each boy. I now realize that she saw beyond human appearances, she saw the presence of God in each person. I will never finish thanking God for having allowed me the grace to have known such an exceptional human being.”
Brotherhood and the centrality of the human person are paradigms that should be brought back into the discussion about education. These will be the double tracks along which the international “Learning Fraternity” will move. The gathering will take place on September 8, 2013 in Castel Gandolfo, Italy and will welcome anyone involved in education: families, schools, catechists, group leaders, researchers and students of all ages.