“Rondine has been growing together with this olive tree”. These are the words of Franco Vaccari, founding father and president of the association “Rondine Cittadella della Pace while talking about the olive tree that Johannes Paul II gave to Rondine in 2012 and that cardinal Jean Louis Tauran (President of the Pontifical Council for the International Dialogue) blessed. With this gift Johannes Paul II acknowledged Rondine as a unique place for dialogue and peace and encouraged its activity. Year after year, Rondine reasserted its mission in several meetings with the Pope: realizing the intuition of Giorgio La Pira who saw “La Verna as the stepping stone for peace actions”.
Why La Verna? “Stigmata are the symbols of a painful wound that becomes a sign of love and peace. The message of the stigmata is to the story of humanity”.
Johannes Paul II found in Rondine the strength of the small things”, the strength of Saint Francis. This was the meaning of the surprising and wonderful gift that he gave to Rondine and to the International Hall of Residence.
Ten years after this gift, Benedictus XVI, on the wake of his predecessor, keeps encouraging the activity of the Citadel. During a meeting that took place on March 7, 2012, while talking with the students of Rondine, the Holy Father said: “That’s how we make peace!”
By Clara della Valle – Translation by Valentina Giommoni