Lives rebuilt

Publish date 30-11-2023

by Redação Sermig

The commitment of the Fraternity of Saint Paul to street people and their social integration

"Good evening everyone! On this very special evening, I want to thank CONSCRE, Parliamentary State Council of Communities of Foreign Roots and Cultures, an entity created by the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo, which aims to integrate foreign communities of different origins and ethnicities residing in the State.

Thank you very much for this initiative and for those who proposed my name, the Committee of Italians Abroad of São Paulo.

This tribute that was addressed to me is actually a tribute to my entire fraternity, the Fraternity of Hope of Sermig, which for 27 years has been carrying on the Arsenal da Esperança, built in the spaces of the ancient Hospedaria de Imigrantes which since the end of 19th century saw millions of foreigners pass through its walls, and today it welcomes 1,200 street men, both Brazilians and foreigners, so that they can truly rebuild their lives together with us and learn to live in a society in which it is sometimes difficult integrate. It's not easy, but it's what we try to do every day. This evening we also want to bring our flag, which we will now show you, and which brings together many nations of the world with the word "Peace". It is a way of saying, especially this evening and from this place, that we can work together for peace, here in São Paulo and throughout the world, with everyone's desire not to consider anyone as an outsider and to live a concept that is has become somewhat of our symbol, "goodness disarms", a phrase very dear to our founder Ernesto Olivero. If we know how to live this, we can go beyond divisions, beyond what can prevent us from integrating different origins and backgrounds."

With these words Gianfranco Mellino wanted to thank the organizers of the aforementioned award which was awarded to him on 11 September last and which has as its motivation: Having distinguished himself significantly, with his service and dedication, in the cultural and social panorama of rich history of communities with foreign roots in the State of São Paulo.

Gianfranco, a Piedmontese from Mondovì, a graduate in pharmacy, has belonged to the Sermig fraternity since the 1990s and in 1996 he was one of the first consecrated men to leave the Arsenal of Peace in Turin to reach the Brazilian city which from the end of the 19th century to 1970 welcomed 30 million European emigrants of 70 different nationalities, of which the Italians were the largest (1 million in 1890 alone). From 21 February 1874, the day on which the sailing ship La Sofia arrived in the port of Vitória, in the State of Espírito Santo, having left Genoa almost two months earlier, with hundreds of families on board, mostly from southern Italy, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria, to which many Venetians joined in the following years, Brazil welcomed our compatriots, the vast majority of whom were poor farmers and workers, into its coffee plantations and into the heart of the coastal cities. For this reason, the welcome given in what was the ancient Hospedaria de Imigrantes has a particular meaning, almost a return. After so many Italians arrived with difficulty and looking for help, people like Gianfranco crossed the ocean to bring help rather than ask for it, to put themselves at service. So last September 11th there was a thank you. Promptly "passed on" to the community, specifically that of Sermig, but ideally to all those who believed and believe in solidarity between men of all origins.

La fraternità del Sermig in Brasile

NP Ottobre 2023

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