Aldo Stedile (Fons) left us on the night of September 30th at the age of 88. Together with Marco Tecilla and two other young men, he had begun the first men’s focolare in Trent, Italy. Everyone who knew him remembers his big smile, his irrepressible vitality, his passion for the Ideal of unity and his optimism.
“Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:38): this was the gospel sentence that guided him in life and earned him the name Fons (Latin for “font”).
Fons was the second of ten children. He was born in Valle del Terragnolo in Trentino, Italy, on July 13, 1925. He had noticeable artistic talent as a painter and if the Second World War had not begun, he would have gone to Florence to study Fine Arts.
In 1948 he came into contact with the experience of the Focolare Movement through Valeria Ronchetti (Vale). He said of that day: “Meeting her was a revelation for me, a true encounter with God. Everything changed in that moment.” After hearing Vale speak about Jesus forsaken, he we went on to say: “Now I understood everything; this was the answer, the solution. This is what I was missing. . . ! I knew that difficulties would come, trials, doubts, misunderstandings, failures – but nothing could frighten me anymore. I felt a strong serene force within me.”
In the early 1960s he was a pioneer of the Focolare in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Germany where he lived for 20 years. Together with Bruna Tomasi who was co-responsible with him for the Movement in central Europe, he helped to begin the ecumenical town of Ottmaring near Augsburg, Germany. In 1963 he was ordained to the priesthood together with Antonio Petrilli.
In the 1980s he assumed responsibility for the branch of the Volunteers of God and in 2000 served several roles on the General Council of the Movement.
In the final years of his life a debilitating illness appeared, but the illness never managed to affect the deep roots of his heart, said Maria Voce as she notified the members of the Movement of his death. In February 2010, when he was undergoing a test of mental cognition, the doctor asked him to quickly write down a complete thought. Fons wrote: “Love everyone, always!”
Fons left us as 200 people were attending a meeting in Rocca di Papa, Italy, from several regions around the world. In the funeral chamber set up for him in the chapel of the International Headquarters of the Movement in Rocca di Papa he is receiving the warm and grateful homage of people from around the world for his joyful and authentic witness to the charism of unity.
The funeral will take place on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 15:00 in the Castelgandolfo Mariapolis Centre (Via S. Giovanni Battista De La Salle).