Ours is the revolution of compassion and tenderness. The fifty-fifth anniversary of Sant'Egidio. Editorial by Andrea Riccardi

The Community of Sant'Egidio was born among students and in the peripheries in the middle of 1968 to support the dream of a Church for all and especially for the poor

The Community of Sant'Egidio is fifty-five years old. The editor-in-chief asked me to say something about it. The Community has more than half a century of life in Rome, where it was born among the students - then in great effervescence in the momentous 1968 - and in the human and urban peripheries of the capital.
It was the post-Council time, when the Word of God seemed to have returned to the centre of the people's attention and reading. This encouraged a new listening to the Word, and - as Cardinal Martini, a friend of the Community, used to say - to live and think biblically.
So, wherever it is, the Community has been gathering in the evenings to pray and listen to the Word of God: in the beautiful Roman basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, in various places in France, in Mozambique, in Burundi, in Indonesia, in San Salvador or in Cuba. Sant'Egidio is a community of people, around the Word of God and with the poor.
Indeed, in those early days the dream of John XXIII, just before the Council, resounded: 'Church of all and especially of the poor'. This dream, which comes from the Gospel, has been taken seriously and this is not an ideological construction, but means to meet the poor personally, to connect with them, to listen to them as friends and relatives
Every Community of Sant'Egidio, in Italy, in Europe, in Africa, small or not so small, has a history of relation, friendship and service with the poor of the most diverse peripheries and conditions: the elderly in need, to the marginalised, the disabled, the AIDS sick in Africa, or the invisible children without citizenship, the homeless, the displaced, the lonely or the wounded by life. The point here is not to list initiatives, but to show the spirit in which the Communities of Sant'Egidio are moving in the history of our time: friendship with the poor. The point here is not to list initiatives, but to show the spirit in which the Communities of Sant'Egidio walk in the history of our time: friendship with the poor.
Pope Francis, on his visit to Sant'Egidio in 2014, said: "Go forth on this path: prayer, the poor and peace. And as you walk this path, you help compassion grow in the heart of society — which is the true revolution, that of compassion and tenderness — to cultivate friendship in place of the ghosts of animosity and indifference."
Prayer, poor and peace. When we speak of peace, we refer to pacification, as in 1992 in Mozambique, where one million people had been killed, or today in South Sudan.

Actually, war is the mother of all poverty. Each Community works for peace where it is, in dialogue with others: Muslims where Christians are a minority, as in Pakistan. Dialogue between religions, between leaders but also between people, has become stronger in the Community since the Prayer for Peace, summoned by John Paul II in Assisi in 1986. Francis told Sant'Egidio: 'The world suffocates without dialogue". This global world, where there is a need to understand each other in order to live together, often seems to be shattered in conflicts or antagonism. Sant'Egidio mends what is torn apart, through dialogue and through the work of everyone.

It is a 'craft' of bridges, as the Humanitarian Corridors. Refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, who have fled Libyan camps, have arrived safely to Europe thanks to them. Or the humanitarian aid to Ukraine, where Sant'Egidio has been present for more than two decades. An Italian rabbi has written: "The Community of Sant`Egidio represents for the whole world the calling function of the Shofar [the ram's horn used in the Jewish liturgy], the proclamation of the Word to better the world, aware of the collective responsibility of humanity".