The “final” work of the Community is service to peace, to making the world more human. The friendship with poor people led Sant’Egidio to understand better that war is the mother of poverty. In this way love for poor people, in many situations, became work for peace: protecting it wherever it is jeopardized, helping to rebuild it, or facilitating dialogue where it had been lost. The means of this service to peace and to reconciliation are the weak means of prayer, sharing difficult situations, meeting, and dialogue. Where it is not yet possible to bring peace, the Community tries to bring solidarity and humanitarian aid to the civilian populations who suffer most from war.
Africa and the Balkans, and other areas of the world, which are marked by war, are always in the memory, commitment, and concerns of Sant’Egidio. Several members of the Community were facilitators or mediators in both Mozambique and in Guatemala, where there was fratricidal conflict for more than 30 years. It was through these kinds of experiences that Sant’Egidio’s belief in the “weak power” of prayer and non-violence. These are attitudes that Jesus Christ himself lived to the end.
Because of this the Community is always promoting ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. Since 1987 Sant’Egidio has been committed, both at a grassroots and international level, to arranging annual meetings, conferences and prayer gatherings, in the “Spirit of Assisi”.
Responding to the call of the Gospel to protect life in all situations, the Community combats violence not only in the sphere of war. The Community, along with other organizations, has worked to abolish capital punishment in all countries. This campaign represents a landmark in the struggle to affirm the value of life without exception, and it involves the members of Sant’Egidio all over the world.
Other campaigns the community has led include:
- A campaign against anti-personnel mines
- Aid to refugees and to war and famine victims in Southern Sudan, Burundi, Albania and Kosovo
- Actions to support peoples of Central America affected by Hurricane Mitch
- A campaign against slavery, where it still exists
- A campaign to end Gun Violence in the United States and around the world