Mystery, the only reasonable alternative to absurdity. Testimony from the tragedy that also struck people in the Movement. In memory of Norina, Michele, and the 67 victims of the collapse of a building in Foggia during the night of November 11th
The tragedy that struck the city of Foggia the night of November 11th was so large that the shock wave of the news reached the most faraway places and people. Newspapers and television have amply described, reconstructed, and commented on what happened: a loud noise, a collapse, a crash, a building with almost 70 people in it falling in on itself in the space of a few seconds. As the hours pass, you find out that Laura, the little girl pulled out of the rubble alive, breaking through the veil of anguish spread over the dreadful event, Laura, 3 years old, little Laura, is the daughter of two of your friends, Norina and Michele. What has happened to them? After a little while comes the tragic confirmation. Our community is struck to the heart. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. As the next days passed, we would learn that an entire family of three, close relatives of Marco, a friend of ours in the CLU of Foggia, was engulfed in the crumbled building in Viale Giotto. And that's not all: also for Luigi, a friend met a couple of years ago, there was nothing to be done. Why were Norina, only 29 years old, and Michele, 36-who were with you for a week during the community's vacation-ripped so early from life? You remember all the times you went with them to eat a pizza in that pizzeria that has seen so much of the history of our companionship, a history that began in high school with GS. What sense does all this make? Stunned, but not desperate, just as after the death of Enzo Piccinini, we are all asking ourselves this, with Rocco, Norina's brother, asking for a reasonable answer, one worthy of all this pain. And he is just the one who astounds you: "No," he says, "it is not an absurdity, what happened is a sign of the Mystery. If you pray, if you invite others to pray-as our friends at the university did immediately, with a flyer calling everyone to recite the Angelus in the chapel-it is because you recognize this." You discover then-and with you everyone who rallies around you, who comes to see you, and who prays with you for your loved ones, all over Italy and abroad-that it is not a case of railing against suffering, but of bearing the cross (as we immediately wanted to say in a letter to Fr. Giussani); that is, of accepting it as a circumstance that the Mystery has chosen to provoke you. The miracle lay not only in an awareness of this Presence, but in the realization that an entire people has felt this wound, as though affecting it in its own flesh, from the closest neighbors, who immediately offered their help, meekly and intelligently-from taking turns staying in the hospital with Laura to handling the first bureaucratic obstacles-to those farthest away, all united in the same surge of human caring because they are all part of the same body. The sensitivity and concern with which the Movement's center and our friends followed developments daily, testify to the profound truth of this unity, so much so that Rocco was moved to say, "If Fr. Giussani, one day forty years ago, had not climbed the steps to the door of Berchet High School, today I would be a desperate man. If this can be of help, I am happy to offer up my pain for all." Never before this period has School of Community shown itself to be not just words, but the flesh itself of existence, capable of communicating to everyone a suggestion of greater awareness of the event. If Laura was miraculously saved, it was because of the protection spread over her by St.Teresa of Lisieux, protector of children, called on by her uncle in the moment of peril. It is in that moment, in fact, that Rocco remembered the time Laura told him that St. Teresa did not love all children, but only her! And so he begged the saint's help there among the rubble, and here came the unexpected reply: a cry, and finally Laura herself, like a flower that springs up from the earth that seems to have covered it forever. The Mass celebrated with Fr. Angelo the same day as the disaster had the intent of highlighting and confirming, through sharing a moment of suffering, a greater unity, a personal one and one of an entire people, which witnesses to the victory of Christ even in the most traumatic and painful circumstances, as the source of a judgment stronger than any emotion, because fed by a love for the truth which only comforts, embraces, rebuilds.