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Pope Francis Visits the Elisa Scala Comprehensive Institute of Rome

‘Fridays of Mercy’ Program Reflects Holy Father’s Outreach to People

In the framework of “his Fridays of Mercy” visits, Pope Francis on May 25, 2018, visited the Elisa Scala Comprehensive Institute of Rome, a State school in the South-West periphery of the capital, between the Borgata Finocchio and the Borghesiana. He was accompanied as usual by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

The Elisa Scala Comprehensive Institute was born in the 1950s; following the demographic increase in the area. Beginning in the 1970s the Institute was enlarged with four additional buildings, located in the Borghesiana and Finocchio area, between Via di Rocca Cencia, Via di Motta Camastra and Via Roccaforte del Greco.

The Holy Father visited the main headquarters of the Institute on via Nicotera. The School’s Directress, Professor Claudia Gentili, and hundreds of boys and girls, who were at the Institute engaged in their afternoon activities, welcomed the Pontiff.

Professor Gentili was able to recount to Pope Francis the history of the Institute that, since October of 2015 is now linked to the Scala family, whose daughter, little Elisa, who was in the 6th grade in the then Comprehensive Institute of Via Rocca Camastra, died tragically from aggressive leukaemia at the age of 11. Elisa was a very lively and determined child, who often spoke to her father and her mother of her passion for books and libraries. When she died, it was a natural desire of her parents to propose a project to the School to realize her dream: a room for books that could be frequented by all the youngsters. A few months later, in December 2015, the “Elisa’s Library” was born, an area to “fill with books.”

It was followed subsequently by the launching of the initiative “Give a Book for Elisa,” by her father, Georgio, and her mother, Maria, addressed to anyone who wished to contribute with a small donation of books to “Elisa’s Library.” Thousands of texts were collected, in different languages, and all with a dedication to Elisa. Today there are over 20,000 books, shipped from all regions of Italy, of Europe and even of Australia, so much so as to enter in the circuit of the municipal libraries of Rome. Only a few months ago, the Institute was given permission by the Municipality of Rome and the Ministry of Public Education to name the school after little Elisa.

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