The witness of Ignazio Silone

Ignazio Silone is a novelist who has inspired me. for many year. In his most famous novel,  Bread and Wine, he portrays the value of even one person saying no. I commented on this a year ago in this post.

When he died on August 22, 1978, he considered himself “a Christian without a church, a Socialist without a party.” He had left the church early, scandalized that the Italian hierarchy spoke more about sexual mores than about the fascism overtaking their country.

He later joined the Communist party and had to flee to Switzerland. His brother, meanwhile, was tortured and died in prison in Italy. He later left the Communist party because of the repression and deceit he found there, but he did not abandon his ideals.

His early novel, Fontamara, is an account of a struggle over water. It’s been a while since I last read but it again shows the importance of protesting when evil runs rampant.

Robert Ellsberg, in All Saints, opens his reflection for today with these words of Silone, which reflect a saying of Jesus in the Gospel:

 In every period and in whatever society the supreme act is to give oneself, to lose oneself to find oneself. You have only what you give.

Can we do less?


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