Log-book: July 1998
|A meeting on the train||Fifth Centenary of Savonarole's Death|
|Partenia: some figures|
A meeting on the train
"The silk cocoon strengthens. Freedom is a frightening thought. It is the excitement of the unknown, as if the path is rich and passionate! Giving you wings to fly. Titles, status, images we all wish to convey no longer matter. Nothing is ever achieved. Only movement ensures the ever present breath of air that will carry us into the future".
I rejoiced when I heard those words. Happy is this woman who has taken the path of truth and freedom to which she is entitled. Jesus said: "you will be reborn". And, to be reborn is even more difficult than to be born. I encouraged this woman, knowing that she was aware that a certain complicity had been established between us. But, by then the train had stopped at the station.
Fifth Centenary of Savonarole's Death
The fate of Savonarole is closely linked to the city of Florence. Popular communities had invited me to return to the Convent of Saint Mark, a strongly spiritual place where Savonarole had been a priest for many years. A great preacher, protector of the poor but rejected by the powerful, he had left no one indifferent. The humble people of Florence loved him and tried to follow his teachings. He dared to propose an ambitious reform both to the society and to the Church. A controversial personality, Savonarole remains an emblematic figure.
In the perfect calmness of the cloister, a large crowd of interested people were listening to the many presentations where the reason why his life had to end in a pyre was explained.
I had the opportunity of revisiting Friar Angelico Frescos always with the same feeling of great emotion. How beautiful they are.
When you visit the Convent of Saint Mark you are in the centre of Florence. In the centre of its history, its culture, its spirituality. We leave the centre to enter its heart. The heart lies at the Piagge quarter. In the city centre you will find the tourists, the people, the shopping centres, the money, the safety... But, it's in the heart of the city that you will find the outcast, those to whom rights have always been denied, the humble, so strongly loved by Savonarole.
We then visited the Isolotto square where for 30 years people have been gathering to show their interest in reforming the society and the Church. We went on with our pilgrimage, visiting la Signoria where Savonarole was burnt on the pyre. And the place was totally covered with flowers. And more and more people were arriving.
Last stage: The "Ponte Vecchio", from where the ashes of Savonarole were scattered to the Arno. The unarmed prophet was made to disappear; but that has not stopped his word from spreading.
The Sponsoring of those without papers - Many people gathered around the Gerard Philipe Theatre at Saint Denis. During two full days, in a festival mood, an actions is launched on behalf of those more than 2500 or more people without papers. A totally accomplished movement. An event that was covered by the whole media. The City Halls all over France, will be listening to the broadcast of the event.
At the Theatre, common people from the street and well known personalities
mix to add their names to the sponsoring lists, while those without papers
await their new sponsor with great anxiety. I was amongst those people.
I, too, am anxious. He finally arrives. His name is Hamadou. His wife and
two children are still living in Mali. A friendship had developed between
us. Hamadou is happy. He is no longer alone, and I am ready to protect and
defend his rights. Hamadou receives his identity card, stamped by the Mayor,
a symbol of a joint commitment.
PS: Partenia some figures, 1997
Total number of pages published monthly on the WEB last year: 175
Total number of pages presented in seven laguages on the WEB last year: 63'875
Total number of visitors last year: 92'000
Increase of visitors last year: 22'000
Monthly average of visitors: 7'660
Number of e-mail messages received by Bishop Jacques Gaillot: 2'300
Number of e-mail messages received by the Webmaster: 346