It was a day as many others…I was watching a fish at the supermarket near my house. I knew it wouldn’t reach our frying pan, fresh fish was too expensive for a large family. I was standing feeling sympathy for those still eyes fixing me. A sudden stroke hit my trolley and brought me back to reality: I turned back and looked into a man’s eyes , they were lively and full of light clearly contrasting the fish eyes. He was Enrico, he seemed to say: “you don’t know me but I know you’ve got five children as I have. Therefore you won’t ever buy that fish but together we can do great things”. At the moment I didn’t give those words much importance, nay, I just nodded my head and said ”let’s speak about that again” giving him the illusion we would find another occasion to go through that problem. Actually I hadn’t considered how constant, stubborn, tenacious a father of a large family is : three adjectives that reinforce the same concept. As in a large family you always multiply bread and fish, names or adjectives. Indeed I should have known as I am a father of a big family too. As a matter of facts Enrico, just a few hours later, rang our doorbell. He came in, sat down and replied that we don’t count anything if we are alone but together we can achieve business agreements, stipulate conventions, getting public institutions ‘ attention, sending positive signals to the entire society. Enrico is even too normal when speaking about the bills to pay at the end of the month, they are waiting on the table and know they will be paid through big sacrifice and renounces. If you don’t pay them your children will be cold and blacked out the day after. The bills perfectly know this fact, they seem simple pieces of paper but they have the power of life or death, of serenity or sadness, of joy or anguish over our immediate family destiny. The same happens with the indicator of your car’s petrol tank, a big car paid with huge installments, as big car are not cheap. The tank indicator, arrogantly provokes a stroke to your heart: it knows you will say: “oh, no, again!”. It knows you can’t leave it red for long. And when you are at the petrol station, while liters of the precious liquid are entering the tank, the red light is happy of having humiliated you again and will say in the next days: “you can’t help avoiding me, you’ve got too many children to take to school, to oratory, to sport activities…I will come back soon and I will punish you as you’ve been open to new life, to new children. Tolstoy wrote: “all ideas having simple consequences are simple ideas. Our association has simple ideas and questions, so simple that any politician should have asked himself long before us. For example, we are seven in a house with one meter, why do we have to pay more than seven singles having seven meters? And the seven singles are all working while our children are too young and they can’t work, they mustn’t work. And why do I have to pay house tax as if I lived in a royal palace, when a simple division shows you that the square meters available to every single member of my family are much less than the square meters of gay couples, or singles, or retired people? Why do factual couples in Italy have more rights than loyal couples. In my family, indeed, incomes are cumulated only because we are married, while an unmarried couple or fake separated couple do not cumulate their incomes and so they pay less taxes. Rights must be for everyone otherwise they become privileges. When I enroll my children for school or buy school books for them, when buying bus tickets everyone of my children is worth 1, while when I fill in the ISEE form to get help from the State every child is worth 0,35, is that correct? Why does water for households have a higher rate than water for breeding animals? Therefore cows can use all the water they want at a low cost unlike our children. It’s better to breed cows rather than growing up children. What hell of society is that? Why don’t people understand such simple things and look at us with an uninterested glance, and that’s even good! When it’s bad they say we are crazy and nobody has compelled us to have so many children, they say that our children are a burden for society, that we are already too many in Italy. And sometimes sliding down to vulgarity they say that our wives are always sex appealing. You may think this is a very strong statement. It may be for those ones who don’t have a big family, not for us bothered and powerless every day who have learnt not to get discouraged when offended. That evening with Enrico we talked about such things, then he got back to his house situated in The Family Quarter in Brescia- the same district as ours. The same name, the same destiny. None of us, neither Egle or Mario nor Angela or Enrico knew that we were going to start a new adventure that day. A splendid adventure, lovely and tiring, complex and simple at the same time. It was easy for me as a Town Councillor to have access to Brescia’s large families data. In fact my town has one of the most efficient statistics offices in Italy. A few minutes after my query I knew a lot about the 468 large families residing in the Town of Brescia. And thanks to efficiency I had their names and addresses on labels. So it was easy to find the first of that long list of men and women that have been following and encouraging us since then. Don Alfredo, the priest of our wedding offered us the parish theatre. Our seven-year-old Marialetizia started her work as a secretary by folding letters into the envelopes, pasting labels and stamps onto the official invitations to the “First Forum of Brescia’s big families”. It was an important name looking into the future. In fact that evening about a hundred families collected in the parish S. Filippo Neri ready for the challenge. Some of them wanted to do more: they gathered in our house every two weeks for six months in order to draw down a Chart of Values and a Statute of what our association would be. They were twelve like the apostles but no traitor: Franco and Gabriella, Giorgio and Donatella, Stefano and Germana, Gianni and Cristina, Enrico and Angela, Mario and Egle. Constancy, hope, faith and love: that’s the beginning of a lovely story. I’m not going on since you know a lot about it as you have made it. Since the day I went to the Register Office, for the first of an endless fight against bureaucracy and indifference, our association has started to exist thanks to you, actually. You, Alessandro and Mariuccia from Valdagno, the first to join up away from Brescia, you, Pierluigi and Francesca who took part in the Brescia Forum even if coming from the far Modena, today so near compared to Alghero, Volla, Catania, Martina Franca. Thanks to you brothers and sisters, colleague parents who have trust us without knowing us and have accepted to join. You have even become coordinator (either in your province or in your region) of an association bearing a new name but so familiar to you: large families. I want to thank you for having started to rewrite the large families’ history in this Country. I want to thank you who perfectly know the meaning of :”you can’t go back, only forward”, as you’ve said that many times watching the pregnancy test and you’ve never thought, even for a minute, that a new life would be a burden for your family. I want to give you my thanks and the following certainty: we won’t freeze our dreams since we know that they would be dead once defrost. I want to thank you on behalf of the Church as, even though you don’t believe, you’ve embraced “the joys and hopes, the sadness and anguish of today’s people, especially the poor and the suffering”. You have welcomed the incitement coming from one of the most impressive documents ever written, the “Gaudium et Spes”, the right guide for modern lay people who search solidarity, peace and love, truth and justice, equity and sharing. I want to thank you who receive the merciful smile of God – as notorious Father of a very, very large family– today may you receive our smiling gratitude for having accepted to share this new adventure. Are we from different religions? That’s better, God is multilingual and will send us good translators, docile and humble people who will understand us, we will certainly understand each other. Some people have wondered why a newborn association like ours, without funds, without saints in heaven (in small letters, as we’ve got a long list of Saints in Heaven), with “leaders” voluntarily cutting out time from work or family in favour of our Association, who take days off and unpaid leave in order to run about the places of politic power and defend a just cause, who reach Rome in a second class train, who walk a lot and use the taxi very little, who eat just sandwiches if they find the time, who pay expensive telephone bills evoking the parable of the widow and the unfair judge, who write and speak non-scholastic Italian, who know a bit of everything and nothing specific, and just for that they’ve started to study as much as their children, maybe more in order to understand the complicated language of bureaucrats. I was saying that somebody has wondered how such an army has been able to obtain significant results in a very short time. We are not going to answer them. We invite them to get out of this room today, the answer is there: in our children’s joyful voices, shouting, playing, making a mess or making a masterpiece; in their dreams, in their glances, in their cries or in their smiles, in their fatigues and in their goals, achieved and passed over, in their kisses and hugs to mum and dad. Since they were in the cradle they’ve been learning to share everything by experiencing solidarity with brothers and sisters, sitting closer to add a seat around the table and loving each other: among them, with them you will find the answer to your question. Look at them now: you’ll understand. A Spanish proverb says: “Speaking about bulls isn’t the same thing as being in the arena”. Be prepared, Italians, good people: be prepared as you no longer will stop us. We are not those ones who “give advice if can’t give any good example”, as the poet from Genoa was singing. We are in the arena. No freemason lodge nor esoteric sect; we tell you clearly what we are and wish. We have just a great passion: to change, since now, the attitude of irritation against family and the death culture taking hold of this Country. We want to transform it into the the culture of “Yes to Life, Yes to the Future”. And we’ll change it. In the Radicali.it blog they say about us: “ we have a new priestly enemy to face”. Count on us gentlemen of individualism and selfishness. Gentlemen of hedonism and liberalism. You gentlemen, have you seen our association statement? No? Have a look at it! In thirty seconds you’ll see an entire programme.
Mario e Egle Sberna, president.