“Rather than sharing my personal story – Stefano Isolan, a young Italian shares – I would like to talk about the community that raised me.
In 1986 my parents, farmers for generations, moved to Loppiano putting themselves at the service of the little city of the Focolare Movement. I was only three years old. We found ourselves immersed in a very welcoming reality, both on the part of the focolarini as well as the neighbours who introduced us to the Tuscany farming culture. Thanks to them my love for this earth grew throughout the years up to the point of pushing me towards embarking on the study of agriculture.
Working in the Loppiano Farm was a big gift: an enterprise that puts love and respect for the earth at its center, the cooperation among the workers and shareholders, with the aim of generating good and healthy products.
In Loppiano I saw people from all over the world come and go. It became natural for me to have friends of different cultures and religions. I experienced firsthand that, by giving space to the love that God has placed in the heart of every person, a united world is possible.
In the meantime, I had developed many friendships at Incisa (the nearby town) and in Florence, I started dating a young girl and I participated in the life of the parish. Together with the parish priest we experienced the authentic and fruitful love of the Gospel. A love that shows us the road that God has thought of, for our full realization. From this group in fact, beautiful families were formed, three vocations to the religious life, and one to the priesthood: tangible fruits of the Love of God among us. I felt myself to be a part of a community that has given me so much and for which I felt the need of giving something in return. I committed myself to associationism, in particular in the Workshop for Peace.
In the Spring of 2004, I was invited to run as a candidate for the Town Council of Incisa. After days of reflection and consultation with the young people of the Focolare with whom I shared everything and also with my friends in Incisa, I answered positively to that which seemed to me a way of giving back the good things that I have received. They were five years lived in close contact with the people. In the midst of sacrifices, successes and some failures, we worked – each one according to his or her own beliefs – to make our Town more livable for each and every person. A concrete example was that of the segregated rubbish collection. With the committment of the council and the all the citizens we became one of the most virtuous towns in Tuscany. I cannot also forget the big aim of uniting the town councils of Incisa and Figline, the result of years of collaboration and consultation with the citizens.
And thus, my natural family, the Focolare Movement, the parish, the community of Incisa, the nature itself which surrounded me, started to become always more, one reality. I wanted to put myself at the full-time service of this big family. But I didn’t know how. Gradually an idea started to form within me: answer to the love I have received with Love. I felt the call of God to the priesthood which, for me, meant directing my life to His service, and as a consequence to the service of my brothers and of the whole humanity. Certainly it was not easy to leave all my activities. And it was even more difficult to leave my people and my land to enter the Seminary. But God himself made me experience the words of Jesus: “Whoever leaves father. mother, fields, for my name with receive a hundred times more …” (Mt 19,20). And it was really like this. Even if I entered the Seminary in 2007, I was able to conclude my term as Town Councilor up to the end of the legislature in 2009, and in 2014 I will be ordained a priest.
I would like to bear witness that it is worth it to live of one another, to work to make our world more beautiful, it is worth it to love, there where each one of us is called to do so. And I cannot but thank God for this cannot every morning and every evening!”.
(Experience shared by Stefano Isolan on September 15, 2013)