Alfredo Zirondoli (Maras)

“The only thing that counts is to always be the first to love” (May 31, 1926-December 31, 2008)

Alfredo Zirondoli was born in Carpi (Italy) on the 31st of May, 1926. If his father upheld his vivid intelligence as a child in view of a successful future, his mother, Albertina Violi (declared a Servant of God since 2007), would be a great support for the spiritual maturity of her child.

And success did come: he was just twenty three, and inspite of the difficulties brought on by the war,  Alfredo became the youngest doctor in Italy, specializing in anesthesiology at the Bocconi University of Milan.

During this period,  he meets Ginetta Calliari, one of the first young girls who followed Chiara Lubich,  at the Card. Ferrari refectory in Milan. Conquered by the words of that young focolarina, he exclaimed: “If Jesus loved in this way, without waiting for anything in return, without waiting for the Father to reply… I want to live like this!”

In Pisa, where he was called to set-up the anesthesiology unit at the city’s University, Alfredo shares his new discovery of the Gospel. Umberto gets to know him at a conference: “He shared with us a fascinating series of episodes, fruit of his committment to living the Gospel in his daily relationships with patients, nurses, doctors. He opened up a horizon that completely changed my life”.

In contact with this new experience also changed the life of his mother Albertina who feels the call to bear witness that in unity, fruit of reciprocal love, there is a “presence” of Jesus that doesn’t only make us believe in Him but also makes us experience that He is alive.

Alfredo feels the call of God to leave everything to follow Him: in 1954 he enters the focolare. Because of his marian character, Chiara gives him the nickname Maras (from Mary Assumed into Heaven), the name with which he will later be known by many.  In fact, he contributed to the life of the Focolare in France, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ireland and Algeria.

From 1966, together with Renata Borlone, he follows the growth of the rising international little city of Loppiano, helping to overcome every difficulty with a great passion. This is how some of the first members of the Gen Rosso musical band, born during those times precisely in Loppiano,  remember him:  “Maras knew about music very well. He would teach us how to listen to one another, how to harmonize each voice with that of the others without standing out. In reality, it was his way of teaching us how to live together, welcoming, serving, highlighting one another…”

And this is what he did with many. He was always characterized by his rather unique ability of transmitting spiritual realities with light and wisdom that involved and fascinated.  He had a long line of countless friends, of brothers from different social stata and from the most varied spiritual experiences. The true link was composed of that being together in a relationship with God that has been renewed and purified by life’s events. He knew how to transmit the fascinating adventure of being Christians.

After Loppiano, in 1981 Chiara asks him to contribute to starting a similar experience in Montet, Switzerland.

On January 7, 2000,  Alfredo tells Chiara of the discovery of a serious illness. He immediately receives her support: “Jesus in our midst will continue to increase in you the certainty that everything is His love!”.

“Take advantage of all the last moments that there are in life”, he wrote shortly before he died. And he continued: “I did many things in my life, I went to many parts of the world, but the only thing that counts is that I tried never to expect anything, but only to always be the first to love”.

He left for Heaven on December 31, 2008. From then on, we have continued to receive many certificates of gratitude to him from all over the world, for what his advice and his witness of life has meant for many.




  1. Rubén Cuitiño

    Grazie MARAS, la tua luce illumina ancora il mio Santo viaggio.
    Le tue lettere sono un tesoro che mi aiutano nelle difficoltá.
    Continua a donarci il tuo sorriso dal Paradiso

  2. Raimondo

    Con Maras ho fato una vera sperienza di unitá.Ho trovato un vero fratello. Per me senza di lui l´unitá sarebbe una fantasia. So che adesso continua questa unitá piú che prima. Raimondo del Brasile

  3. gregorio del olmo

    Muchas gracias Maras por todo lo que me diste mientras compartí tiempo y experiencias contigo en Loppiano. Ahora desde el cielo dame una mano para que sea nás fiel y testimonio del IDEAL DE LA UNIDAD. GRACIAS ! MUCHAS GRACIAS !!!

  4. Irene Jovaras

    Anche io voglio esprimere la mia gratitudine a Maras . Lui era a Loppiano con Renata quando ero li in 1978-79.
    Come e descritto nel’articolo lui aveva un a capacita con Renata di mettterci in quella realta sopranaturale e naturale di un attimo presente dove solo amare..essere amore conta! Ci ha raccontata sua storia che veramente ci affasciniva e contribuiva alla conferma anche della mia chiamata in focolare. Grazie Maras

  5. patrizia mazzoni

    una semplice lettura fatta soprattutto col desiderio di conoscere ed ecco che ti ritrovi davanti miniere di Sapienza e la voglia di vivere così….ecco “senza aspettarsi niente” e “vivere l’ Unità per sperimentare che lì c’è Lui,vivo”!GRAZIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Takat

    Sono stato con Maras dal ’69 al 71 a Loppiano dove sono visuto ore, giorni, settimane, messi e anni di grazie umane e divine. Tutta la mia vita lo ricordo ed é per me sempre una luce accesa, sopratutto nei momenti difficile perché mi richiama all’Amore e all’Unitá con Dio e con i fratelli. Sono sempre tanto grato a lui perché ha saputo nella diversitá metterci insieme nell’unitá donandoci Dio e il Carisma di Chiara nella sua piú alta sapienza e piú umana fraternitá.

  7. Gianfranco Bressi

    Sono stato a Loppiano negli anni 1968/69 e con Maras ho toccato veri momenti di Paradiso nelle meditazioni con lui, nelle Sante Messe da lui celebrate con sobrietà ma con una pofondità che sapeva di infinito. Grazie Maras, devo soprattutto a te se l’Ideale di Chiara mi ha marchiato a fuoco l’anima e sopravvive in me nonostante i miei fallimenti.

    • Erasto Antonio Espino Barahona

      Su luz llegó a muchos que, sin conocerlo -personalmente-, fuimos formados por sus “discípulos” en el Ideal …
      Bastaba leer sus libros, para darse cuenta de era alguien lleno de una Luz que tenia su origen en Otra parte.
      Gracias, Maras. Ora pro nobis.


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