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PinoQuartana

Pino Quartana died on 30th December after a brief illness. He was responsible for the New Humanity Movement from 1982 up to 2008.

It is hard to portray Pino. His personality is rich and it is not possible to describe it in a few biographical notes. Many of us have known and met him, and will remember him mostly for his service to the Focolare Movement, and in particular, to the New Humanity Movement, as an untiring collaborator of Chiara Lubich. We could relate many things about his adventure, but we will limit ourselves to a few flashes, less well known, that were delivered at Pino’s funeral by Doctor Alberto Lo Presti, Director of the Igino Giordani centre, where Pino worked in his last years. 

Pino Quartana was born in Milan, on 3rd February 1929, and lived his childhood during the war, that left its mark of suffering also on his family. When he referred to that period, Pino spoke about his anxiety, his being unable to give a meaning to his life. He understood that God is absolute and gives meaning to everything, but to him no experience was decisive.  

These are his words:

«I remember that when young I wandered around the streets of Milan, I wandered for hours, believing that in that way I would meet God. At the same time, I felt that I wanted to remain among and with men».

Pino wanted to cure the wounds of history, those left by the war. After graduating in Arts and Philosophy, he began to teach mutilated and handicapped children, who were abandoned after the war, and he dedicated himself passionately to this experience of loving all the little ones.

He relates that he placed trust towards everyone as the basis of his teaching method. He always sincerely believed his pupils. For example, when a child told him that he could not do his homework because his mother was sick, he really believed him, to the extent that in the afternoon he visited the mother, to comfort her, and discovered that the child had lied. And Pino warned him: «You know, you could have simply told me that you did not feel like doing your homework, and I would have given you the homework for another time». 

Pino was always a person with a spirit of freedom, he was suspicious of what imprisons the will to live. When he met Mariele, he experienced his first profound change. He was afraid of marriage, afraid of suffocating within the walls of the family house. But in Mariele he found, both of them found in each other, a soul open to humanity, with the desire to spend their lives for something worthwhile.

Pino and Mariele met the Focolare Movement in 1957, and in 1967, Chiara Lubich asked them to transfer themselves to Rome, near the centre of the Focolare Movement, so as to be able to follow up more closely the activities of the Movement. Their choice was not an easy one. They had to explain all this to their relatives, who generously donated to them the house, furniture, etc. They were also rather tired of the unexpected from Pino and Mariele, who were already known for their original choices: escapes from home to seek the poor, total dedication to mutilated persons, the experience of Nomadelfia. And so on.

They expected more normal behaviour; but instead Pino and Mariele were transferring themselves to work for the Focolari! There were trials ahead: they would leave behind projects that had however never reached conclusion. So Pino and Mariele, with few resources, found themselves in Rome, in 1967, having lost whatever they possessed in Milan, awaiting the unknown.

They gave private lessons, they collaborated with Cittanuova…but often the money was not enough.

One day, after school, Mariele got on her motorbike, and went on her way home. She saw some beautiful sunflowers on the edge of the road, and stopped to pick them, thinking that yes, they did not have any money, but they could have some flowers, and then another thought: “Jesus I want to see what you will come up with”. She went on her motor bike, reached her home, and found a letter from the Ministry of Education. They had sent the payment for exams that Pino had held as examiner, in previous years in Milan (90,000 Italian lire in 1967).

In the meantime, Chiara had founded the new Families, and entrusted them to Igino Giordani, and placed Pino and Mariele at his side. Through the new families, Pino and Mariele worked on many initiatives in favour of children and adolescents who found themselves in difficulties, so as to rebuild society on the secure pillar of the natural family.

After 15 years with the new Families, in 1982, Chiara Lubich entrusted the Quartanas with the responsibility of the New Humanity Movement. We quote Pino’s words:

“From that moment, our walk of freedom was definitely accelerated. God made us inherit the world.(…) we could see the world(…) we could see with his eyes the inventions of the Holy Spirit.”.

After 15 years with the new Families and 26 years with new Humanity-we are now in 2008-it seemed that the hour for a well-earned rest had arrived. It was not so, not for Pino who was not accustomed to being on pension. The Centre Igino Giordani had to be strengthened, as it was involved in many commitments, and so even here, Pino gave himself completely.

Then his death, on the dawn of 30th December, 2012. Pino died of a tumour which had afflicted him for some months. He confronted it with courage: Pino told those who visited him that he had a great peace in his heart, and gave witness until the end to his being a Christian. And it is for this witness, of a lifetime, that also the New Humanity Movement is to him ever grateful. 

We are publishing an interview held some years ago, with him and his wife Mariele, regarding a spirituality “that is intrinsically social”.

To read it click here (italian version)

 

 

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