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A soul-stirring performance for Pope Francis

POPE dience to the Foundation Group House of the Spirit and the Arts members at the Vatican.

Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

I.Media - published on 02/04/22

Look at this: Prisoners crafted the violin from shipwrecked migrant boat

A tune played by a unique violin was performed for Pope Francis at the Vatican this February 4. Members of the Italian foundation Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti (Spirit and Arts Foundation), which involves prisoners and marginalized people in craftsmanship training, presented the Pontiff with an instrument made with the colored wood of migrant boats stranded in Lampedusa.

During the audience, the Pope emphasized the Christian value of the activities of the inmates of San Vittore. In addition to a violin-making workshop, they make hosts for Communion, produce wine for the Mass, and do carpentry, “like St. Joseph and Jesus,” said the Pontiff.

“I thank you all because you are a seed of hope,” the Pope told them.

POPE dience to the Foundation Group House of the Spirit and the Arts members at the Vatican.

He told them that their example is “contrary to the unfortunately widespread culture of rejection. Instead you seek to build, with the ‘rejected stones,’ a house where one breathes an air of social friendship and fraternity. Not everything is easy – we know – it is not entirely a ‘bed of roses!’ Each one of us has his or her limits, mistakes, and sins. All of us. But God’s mercy is greater, and if we welcome each other as brothers and sisters, he forgives us and he helps us go forward.

A violin from the sea …

After the Pope’s words came a performance of a melancholy tune by Italian composer Nicola Piovani – winner of an Oscar (1999) for best film score of Life is Beautiful.

Titled “Violino del mare,” the piece was specially composed for a particular instrument: a violin made by the prisoners of Opera – the largest penitentiary on the Italian peninsula – from the African wood of migrants’ boats that had washed up on the beaches of Lampedusa. The Argentine pontiff visited this Sicilian island in 2013.


Taking over the symbolic violin, a multi-ethnic orchestra composed of young Roma people and youth of various nationalities (Argentina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea, Syria) also performed for Pope Francis.

This is not the first time that the foundation Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti has met the head of the Catholic Church: in 2014, he blessed for them a cross of Lampedusa, also made with the wood of migrant boats.

The Foundation is a non-profit organization where “the values of the Christian faith, the need for interreligious dialogue, and the lay values that focus on the dignity of every person, collaborate to encourage and accompany the growth and development of the weakest people from all over the world.”

The aim is to recover the dignity of the people involved by letting them express their talents through cultural and artistic paths.

During the audience, the Pope individually thanked all those involved in the projects and activities, including refugees mastering the art of tailoring; the musicians of the multi-ethnic orchestra; single mothers with their children; and those with disabilities.

POPE dience to the Foundation Group House of the Spirit and the Arts members at the Vatican.
MusicPope Francis
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