Blogs | As a teacher I tell you: let Brother Biagio be known in every school

“This is for you”. To give me the “santino” with the photograph of Biagio Conte is a black woman standing next to me during thegoodbye in the cathedral. A few minutes before her, another African woman took it out of her bag and looked at it for a few minutes. For a few moments I thought: “I would like to have one”. Not even the time to do this when suddenly I found it in my hand. Coincidences.

If I were a believer, perhaps I would dare to say a “little miracle”. One of the many that Brother Biagio made. When one thinks of holiness those on the calendar come to mind: popes, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Biagio was “nobody”. He wasn’t a priest. He was not consecrated. It was one of us (not of us) who chose to be holy. On Tuesday, all of Palermo was there to thank him: ten thousand people. I saw together, side by side, without authority distinctions, many young people, the elderly, people in suits and ties and men with dreadlocks. And even a bishop, that of Palermo, Don Corrado Lorefice who, while speaking of Biagio, during the homily, is forced to stop and cryAnd. Never seen a monsignor in tears.

And yet, when I first arrived in Palermo in 1995, I remember that Biagio was considered by all to be somewhat crazy: “He’s mad, but he does good”. That green habit, those of his eyes always alive, that disarming smile of hers seemed naive and spirited to someone. There were some crazy like Biagio, the Saint Francis of our millennium.

Biagio, son of entrepreneurs, in 1990 had dropped everything and had fled into the woods to then walk to Assisi. Crazy. Back in Palermo in 1991 he chose not to be on the side of the poor, but with the poor sharing their life at the station. Two years later, the then mayor Leoluca Orlando granted him the use of the former municipal disinfectant where it began to welcome those without a roof. For Biagio, the mission in his land began.

I met him several times in via Decollati. she was theliving image of a saint: he slept in a caravan; sometimes on the ground among his poor. Every day he miraculously managed to give a plate and a bed to one hundred, two hundred, three hundred people. If he had to make his voice heard, protesting for the poor did so withfasting weapon. In the cathedral on Tuesday there was a simple wooden coffin made by his own people. Above only the Gospel.

Brother Biagio has not gone away. Anyone who didn’t know him alive can do it now, perhaps by watching the film by Pasquale Scimeca. Tuesday, while we were saying goodbye to brother Biagio, two clochards in Rome they died for cold. Now it’s our turn to be a little, even just a little bit, brother Biagio. Indeed, I say it as a master: we talk a lot about civics. Do one thing: tell the kids, from every school, about brother Biagio Conte.

Blogs | As a teacher I tell you: let Brother Biagio be known in every school – Il Fatto Quotidiano