It’s been 24 years since that October 4, 1992, feast of St. Francis. That day, in Rome, a general agreement of peace was signed. The agreement ended the civil war that had generated much suffering in Mozambique. A peace born in a small convent in the center of Rome, where a Christian community, still very young, gathered to pray: Sant’Egidio.
In loving the poor, which the Community of Sant’Egidio learned from the Gospel and by the example of St. Francis, they learned that war is the mother of all poverty and they had taken care of that poor country ravaged by war.
Today, that peace is twenty-four years old. We recall the words of Angelo Romano, “In 1992 the country was among the poorest countries in the world, and indeed for a long time was the poorest country in the world. In Mozambique people could not travel because all the bridges on the Zambezi River were blown up during the war. Today, Mozambique, although going through a difficult moment and a political and military crisis, has been for many years one of the countries with greater economic growth in the world, and it has been regarded in some aspects as a model. They held elections, two presidents have changed. Important economic resources were discovered. In short, the country has completely changed. Especially the population has changed, because more than half the population was born after ’92. Therefore there is a “generation of peace “, currently the majority of Mozambicans, who has never known war and does not want to know it.”
Sant’Egidio has remained close to the Mozambican people: it has launched a large program to combat AIDS and a campaign for civil registration of “invisible” children.
The artist Stefano Di Stasio artist dedicated a large painting to this extraordinary peace process; the painting is kept in the Hall of Peace of Sant’Egidio and is inspired to the passage from Isaiah 11: 6: “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb; / The leopard shall lie down with the kid; / The calf and the young lion shall browse together … “. In the painting the protagonists of the negotiating process are embracing in front of the church of Sant’Egidio and the dove of peace is flying on African clouds. Below, the lion and the lamb living together while the Peace burns weapons forever.