Letter of gratitude to our workers
"Color olivi", engraving by Jan van der Straet called Stradanus, engraved by Philips Galle, 1596
Solomeo, 17 March 2021
My esteemed friends,
My heart is with you for your courage and the patience you have so effectively demonstrated in this period of pain and uncertainty, which are the same ones I felt. If in our enterprise now economic and human positivity reigns, if we can imagine Italy enriched by the gracious reception of our creations, if all this has come about with special genius and craftmanship, I certainly owe it to you.
So how can I thank you generous souls for the responsibility, dedication, creativity, understanding, closeness, and capacity to feel the pain as a teacher? For me it is a joy recognising all of you as the most meritorious workers each in his or her own role. Particularly dear to me are the veterans, the first stewards of beauty and art that improve life. They are the ones who remind the newer ones of some universal golden rules, such as those pronounced by Confucius in the 6th century before Christ: “even simple things are worth doing well” and “work must be proportionate to a person’s age and strength”.
I am fascinated by rites that guide us back to natural laws and save us from uncertainty; they are the living source of human action. Artisanry also draws on rites, they are the source of its ever renewed creativity. The history of civilisation goes hand in hand with the history of craft, harmoniously joining human and natural forces. For centuries it has been the fertile fruit of our nation, and for centuries it has based its genius on rules and discipline. Indeed, artisans appear to me as real poets, they know how to seamlessly unite technical skill, artistic vision, taste, finesse and quality in original products. I believe I owe it to you if, in this period, we may have created the most beautiful collections in our history, affirming a genius that unleashes its creativity precisely when things get difficult. During this intense period we have worked with the same courage as in more serene times and this is what has kept us united.
All these merits demonstrate your love for the work. You know that economic profit is a strong spring, but in our hearts we also know that it is not the only one: through our work, we take part in the marvel of Creation that we are called upon to care for with each any every one of our individual and collective actions; through our hard work performed in respect for the planet, we show our love for our community every day. It is true, and I am grateful to you; your actions have been and are for me proof and spur that we must never lose hope or wallow in fear. Many of our conversations have brought us close to tears, knowing we are faithful navigators, soldiers mustered for the painful challenge. They bring to mind history and the great stoic philosopher, my teacher, Marcus Aurelius. Before a decisive battle, he turned to his soldiers with these moving words: “my esteemed men, tomorrow Rome will need us, may God protect us.” In you I see special people who know that progress and economic development do not always go hand in hand.
In my opinion, there is a right way to live life, and it is ethically, because ethics allows us to discern the universal in daily details and makes us universal men and women. If you climb up to the Bosco della Spiritualità in Solomeo, you will find a phrase by Saint Benedict at the entrance:
HONOUR ALL PEOPLE
I now render to you, with sincere heart, this noble honour.