The Legacy of Chiara Lubich for Social Sciences

Inaugural lesson in Trent, Italy

It was the faculty of Sociology at the University of Trent that provided the site, last December 16-17, 2011, for the anticipated inauguration of the Area of Social Sciences and Communications at the IUS, at the heart of a two-day convention sponsored by the “Per Sophia” Foundation with the help of the Autonomous Province of Trent.    
“Chiara Lubich and her Legacy for the Social Sciences: Sociological Impulses from Trent.” This was the conducting thread of the lecture given by  Bernhard Callebaut, chairperson for the department of Foundations of Social Sciences, who is also coordinating this new area of research. 
The days of study took place in the beautiful Alpine city, given the deep roots that connect the IUS, founded by Chiara Lubich, to her native town. Thus, many people from Trent joined the delegation of professors and students who had come expressly from Loppiano for the event, all wishing to be present for the public act.
It is therefore the moment for social sciences, which is being highlighted within the scholarly work of the IUS, beside its two other established departments  - Economics and Political Studies. It could not be but like this, since the thought and work of Chiara Lubich also propose significant elements for reflection and innovative research also in this field. Four are the research paths that Prof. Callebaut wished to mention in his inaugural speech:
The study of modern religious movements, especially in those fields  that have been little explored, such as that of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue;
The sociology of cultural processes, and in particular, the ideas of community and communion, that call in question the complex understanding of the Trinitarian principle in the history of Christian thought;
The studies on the feminine and masculine, on the relationship between man and woman, a realm that receives important stimulus by the foundress from Trent; 
The complex growth of modern society that claims a new definition for the processes of synthesis and of composition between diversities, social role and functions, for a greater social integration from the local to the global.
The reflection on the points presented was entrusted to four renown sociologists who commented on Callebaut’s talk with a notable wealth of knowledge: Michele Colasanto (Catholic University of Milan) underscored the very present desire in the work of Lubich to give space to the social connection and bonds of solidarity, to direct the human city to good governance and quality of life together;   Salvatore Abbruzzese (University of Trent) described the work of Lubich, among other things, as a powerful cathedral of meaning for today’s epoch, that in no way avoids the human challenges. It was then the turn of Giulia Paola De Nicola (University of Chieti, Pescara), who highlighted the force of the feminine profile of Lubich, her capacity to overcome the stereotypes through the authentic experience   of reciprocity between man and woman, thus opening up new paths in the Church and in humanity; and finally, Gennaro Iorio (University of Salerno), who wished to delineate the different approach to the conflictual dimension of societal life, which we feel the urgent need for today and that starts from the recognition of the conflict and assumes it within a generative dynamic of good.
The public session was preceded and followed by two committing seminars, in which the talks by other scholars of social sciences (Tiziano Vecchiato, Padua; Virginie Alnet, Paris; Silvia Cataldi, Cagliari; Giuseppe Pellegrini, Padua; Licia Paglione, Chieti), friends of Sophia and the international network of Social-One/Social Sciences in dialogue, introduced new reflections on the topics of political science, science and technology, and research methodology. 
“It’s been a long time,” observed a participant “that the halls were filled with such enthusiasm.... ” The academic Sophia Review will publish the complete texts of all the talks.

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