Study should not become a Parenthesis

Davide Penna, Italy


Genovese, 23 years old, with political commitment experience behind him in his district, once he finished his Master’s degree in philosophy, decided to continue at the IUS.  His passion for the truth and.... love at first sight.




When did you become aware of the IUS?


My first contact with Sophia happened in June 2009.  At Geneva, the cultural association of which I am president, Arena Petri, had organized a conference with a group of the Focolare Movement which I had met through a student and friend, Emanuel, who had already done a year at the IUS.

Amongst the relators that evening was the rector of the IUS, Piero Coda.  One could say that it was....a love at first sight: I remember that, at the start of the conference, as I listened to the presentation about Sophia, I had felt the desire to get to know this experience better.


Then last July, while I was finishing my Master’s degree in philosophy, Emanuel proposed to me to follow up with a biennial specialization at the IUS.  I then recalled that particular evening, and, after a clearing of my ideas, I enrolled.  As of September I have been attending the program on Trinitarian ontology.  


Why did you choose this university from among the many to be found in Italy?


What guided me is the desire to be able to finally put together study and life, because studying should not be just a parenthesis, an isolated dimension.  For some time now I have wished that my studies could penetrate my choices more, speak the language of what I live, question my convictions so as to arrive at deeper meanings….  As a consequence, in daily life I would like to put into concrete form what I have studied. 

There then, Sophia allows me to do this.  Because of what emerges from the heart of the different disciplines we study at Sophia, the dynamism of love as a social principle, that is, love in freedom, in order to express itself it needs the other, and that’s the Other with a capital O.


Could you bring into focus one of the most symptomatic moments, that is, exam time?


Exams are just over and they went well!  I threw myself in them, but before anything else I tried to let what others were going through, what was worrying them, come before my own concerns…. How?  By studying together, for example, and it was a really new exercise because in studying together, new space opens up for greater knowledge.  It allows you to pick up, through the eyes of others, things that would elude your own sensibility; together one can go deeper more easily.  You become aware that fatigue, when it comes about from reciprocal giving, brings you closer to the truth because it is generative: it expresses, it gives life to something new. 

Then the final exam is upon you, as is the dissertation with the professor: I think I was able to live it as a crowning moment of a personal path of growth.


I must say that each course, each professor, was for me the discovery of a gift... Some words could perhaps synthetize what I live; truth is “available” if I make room for it inside of my small-big freedom.  


Text: Melchior Nsavyimana

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