Sophia’s Library, one of the most frequented places of the institute, opened in 2008 with library materials that were donated from various parts of the world, among which were the thousands of books donated by Pasquale Foresi, Co-founder with Chiara Lubich of the Focolare Movement. The patient work of organizing and preparing the catalogue took six years to complete. Just a few days ago, volume no. 10,000 was registered on the catalogue!
The big surprise was to discover that volume no. 10,000 is a book, “Our Brother,” written by Igino Giordani, the other Co-Founder of the Movement, precisely at this moment, when IUS’s Aula Magna is being dedicated to the journalist, writer and politician, together with the opening of a course on his literary works.
Published for the first time in 1954 by the small publishing house, Figlie della Chiesa, and recently re-edited by the New City magazine, Giordani’s “Brother” is, together with another of his books, The Divine Adventure, the first extensive treatise on the spirituality of unity (or communion). It highlights a new, and innovative, and likewise evangelical way of considering the others as brothers, and not as a hindrance to union with God, but rather, as the privileged way of meeting him. It is a precious book for a library which can improve its role at the service of IUS students and scholars.
On various occasions, Giordani – Vatican Library Director, as well as author of numerous books –had reflected on the importance of books as conveyors of values. A book, he affirmed in an article of 1936, may be «restorative and toxic, lenitive and depressing; it could be explosive and a conveyor of grace. […] Civilisation is a system of ideas, and ideas are made to circulate especially by books.» He further recalled: «Cicero said that books are the best friends of educated and scholarly men: they are his companions and work tools; his distraction, joy, passion and life; and to him his library is paradise, place of delights, effusion, contemplation – the tabernacle of his thoughts.» And continued: «the political and social revolutions, the transformation of customs, in the positive or negative sense, are provoked by some, and usually a few books.»
In 1940 Giordani outlined the sublime calling of the Catholic writer: «The writer who impersonates Christ, prepares to repeat the passion. He will be hailed with palms, but not on earth. In this awareness, the activist becomes heroic: literature becomes a virtue – akin to sanctity. Christianity divinizes all it encounters. The blood of Christ endows man with the dignity of a blood-relation with God. This dignity also covers that great manifestation of the spirit: literature, in which the mind participates by reflex, to the creative act.»
The reader who encounters Igino Giordani and his message with an open heart, is bound to make an overwhelming and engaging experience because he feels respected in a serious and demanding way, as a person involved in a network of authentic relationships that bridge the years, distances and circumstances. He feels loved: «you, reader, […] are the son of God and you bear God’s image and represent the law, so much so that on seeing you I see His image, and in dealing with you I am dealing, as a middle-man and as a representative – with God himself.»
We hope the users of our library may experience this also in their studies, and in reading this and the other 10,000 books!