CATHOLIC OR COMMUNIST?
“My mom did things from a Catholic perspective and my dad from a communist perspective. But the values, I saw that they were the same. I saw that Mom prayed, and Dad tried to change the reality of poverty… I too operated under the logic of changing reality, not on Messianic views… So, my values, what are they? A strong sense of altruism that has stuck with me till today… a ‘militant’ altruism… not aggressive at all but very strong…”
Francesco Carchedi is a social worker in Rome. He is filled with a passion to heal the unfairness of poverty and disease. I remember meeting Francesco as if it were yesterday. He was deeply influenced by his observant Catholic mother and his father who was committed to Communism. Francesco founded many organizations, but the one that struck me as most profound is one that sends vans around Rome at night to check on prostitutes to see if they need medical care and to provide them help if they wish to get off the streets.
While I could only hear Francesco speak of his work, rather than observe it, I did have the very personal experience of watching him care for his brother, Maurizio (pictured on Francesco’s right) who’d suffered a stroke and who has subsequently passed away. During our interview, he kept wanting to check on him and when we went to make a portrait, he wanted his brother to be in it. His attention to his brother and his love, as shown through his focus and concern when it would have been perfectly acceptable to be focusing on himself, left a mark on me to this day. That is why I so love the picture of the two of them as Francesco’s Portrait in Faith.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Francesco Carchedi reminded me the answer is always yes.