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Bologna: Beauty that touches the heart

"One moment that moved me most during the year was the Advent garden," recalls Roberta, mother of two pupils at the school. "On the afternoon of the first Sunday in Advent we meet in the School Hall. It was dark, a few candles glowed."

On the floor lay as spiral made out of scented pine branches. We looked for a space at the side of the room.

Now the teacher began to tell a beautiful story in a warm voice. Then one of the children lit a candle and walked reverently through the spiral. The choir of teachers accompanied her. At one point the child put her candle down among the branches and returned to her place.

Thus one after the other the children took their turns. Slowly the room began to glow more brightly. The faces became more visible, the singing grew louder- it was wonderful. At the end everyone went quietly home, each with a small flame that had begun to glow in their hearts."

"It is even possible to enchant the older children and youngsters thanks to the artworks that we have in abundance," recalls Loic, one of the teachers. "I can still see the enthusiastic faces of my students as they stood before the mosaics in San Vitale in Ravenna. What inspired them the most was the beauty of these mosaics that have survived for so long undamaged. Later we refreshed ourselves in the blue waves of the sea. The best thing for the students, however was that the teachers bought ice cream for everyone.

Another excursion took us to Padua. Here we wanted to see the frescos of Giotto in the Kapelle Scrovegni. But we missed the train. Everyone was excited about this because of the risk that we would not get to the chapel in time. As the next train stopped at the station we all ran like crazy. Once we arrived in the chapel the youngsters were once more touched by the beauty of the pictures. And this beauty was combined with a simplicity that made it all the more moving.

After the chapel was closed we gathered on the square outside the Basilica of San. Antonio and ate our picnic, whilst sharing a wonderful sunset.

This year we want to celebrate an evening with poetry and read some of Dante’s Divine Comedy. I am very happy that my love and admiration of Dante could be shared by the students. We are looking forward to working with Dante’s works."

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