” I never thought I could lose my job , my family, my home risking to live on the street myself too”. Federico is 60 year old, married with a son and he presents himself as an elegant man. While telling his story as homeless his eyes get watery for all that has happened to him in the last few years.” I used to have an office as quantity surveyor in Veneto and I worked for the healthcare system for a long time. When I started to work with some partners in a rural company investing my money earned from the selling of my apartments, all my trouble started”. In 2012 the bank says that the company is unhealthy for the community, pulls out the loans and everything falls apart. All Federico s and his partners property end up in auction and millions of euro are burned in a short time.
“Years later I realize that I was too ambitious. I was launched in business losing sight of the affections that I had around me. After the failure, trying to start other activities in other cities – because where I lived had immediately lost credibility by word of mouth of the banks – I have only accumulated debt on debt, a bad investment after another. I saw around me only enemies, competitors who wanted to cheat me, and instead I was that I had fallen into a spiral of lies and deceptions, hoping to retrieve my success. I even got to the fraudulent bankruptcy and so I fell into a long period of depression, remaining only as a dog in to a pension. As long as I did not have a penny in my pocket and no place to sleep. ”
Federico, despite losing everything, he did not live long experience of the road like many others homeless forced to sleep on benches or on the steps of the stores covered only by cartons. Some friends invited him to look for a dormitory and so he is welcomed in the Bethlehem Bologna Hut, one of the seven actually reception, for those who would otherwise be forced to sleep outdoors, wanted by Don Oreste Benzi – a giant of love, as he calls Federico. In this place of passage, he meets the many faces of poverty, a world unknown to him, rediscovers the value of his family that it is more important to the business and also makes experience of forgiveness and faith.
“If I could meet the Pope would say a big thanks because I know that I can be forgiven the mistakes of the past and start a new life. During this years he has spoken of mercy: it’s the one everyone need, poor and rich, Italian and foreign. In contact with many different cultures and situations of poverty of any kind that I did not know before, I realized that to God we are all equal and we need to regain our dignity as men. Although we have no home, no documents, we are like invisible, without identity, God does not forget anyone. ” Among the homeless Federico understands having to change his life, character and habits, also learning to look at the difficulties of those close to him. He stops to make the entrepreneur himself, running after money and throwing away it in a thousand vices. In the community he does not decide times, he learns to sweep, to wash the dishes and do the cleaning like everyone else. And one day hopes to be again welcomed by his family, no longer dictating the rules by himself or using people for their own advantage.
For this reason Federico has asked to take part in the Jubilee of the homeless which will begin today in the Sala Nervi with the catechesis of Pope Francis will be followed by visit to the capital and the Via Crucis. Saturday 12 the initiative, which involves the participation of four thousand homeless from all over Europe, it will continue with the meeting of the great witnesses of the faith and in the evening, in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Prayer Vigil with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin , Archbishop of Lyon. Sunday 13 there will be a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Jubilee of the homeless, organized by the French association “Brother”, created in 2014 to help also in the spiritual growth the people in bad situation of insecurity and without accommodation, it is held at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, on St. Martin of Tours memory day, remembered for giving his cloak to a traveler when he was still a Roman Empire soldier. He became bishop at the end of the fourth century, one of the founders of monasticism in the West, he has distinguished himself especially for simplicity of his dresses and residence as well as the approach with the people of the countryside.