Beppe, farmer in the province of Cremona

"Faith puts fear in its proper place"

Beppe milks 300 cows in the province of Cremona. He talks about his daily life which consists of prudence, prayer and wonder at the things that happen. The dearest thing I have is what is given to me to live everyday".
Luca Fiore

1,500 souls in the province of Cremona. Fields, farmhouses and farms. Fog. The heart of the Lower Po Valley. Here, Beppe milks 300 cows, which supply the area's dairies. He milks twice a day, seven days a week, all year round. His work continues "paying attention to all the indications given to us, but if someone gets sick, we need to cover the shift, because the cows cannot wait”.

Cremona is one of the provinces most affected by the Coronavirus epidemic. "In my country, there are people who are in quarantine or who have parents who have tested positive and who have been hospitalized", Beppe says: "There are friends in the community: one has sick elderly parents and she too is sick. The concern is there, but we try to adopt the precautions that are asked of us". Beppe has four children. The oldest is studying Economics in Milan. The other, next year, will enrol in an agricultural programme. Then there are the two youngest: one of eleven and the other of nine. These days they will all be at home. Naturally, we spend more time together. And you observe each other more.

"On Ash Wednesday, we watched the Bishop's Mass live on TV in our living room. It was shocking to see the Cathedral empty. But I was also struck by what I saw around me: we are never like this in front of the TV. Silent, composed. We have also collected offerings, which we will give to our parish when we are able to".

At a certain point, he says, it was rumoured that the parish priest would distribute ashes in the churchyard, one at a time and without crowding. "We went too. The people came stealthily. In silence, in order. Without crowding. Old people and children. People of all kinds. I thought: look at how faith helps overcome fear. In this occasion, it emerged again that we are in the hands of Another and that the Church helps to remind us of this”.

Faith helps overcome fear. But how? "I perceive that it allows us to see things better as they are. For example, that we must be prudent in everything, but faith also puts fear back in its proper place. It allows it not to be the last word. And so one can continue to do what one does without stopping. That is what the movement teaches me, what Fr. Giussani has given us".
And then, he continues, what helps is to tell each other things. "With friends you talk: ‘Did you hear about that friend? And that other one? You have to pray...’. I have never prayed so much: for those who are sick and those at risk".

Beppe says that this is also true with his children: "We talk, they tell me about the ways they are coming up with to avoid gatherings…Their orchestra even manages to rehearse. They send the conductor videos of them playing the pieces, and he comments upon them and corrects them from a distance. And I am amazed at these things."

Wonder. Perhaps this is the real sign that fear, in difficult times, has not won. To be amazed at beautiful things, even small things, that happen.

"Then, when I heard my son say that he was not afraid because he had in front of his eyes the faces of certain adults, well, I was amazed again. I was not expecting that. I thought, what have I done? I was never worried about their faith, but mine. In these years, I have done nothing but invite my friends from the movement to come to our home, or take my children with me when I went to friends. I thought: I must continue to educate them by letting myself be educated".

So? How do you now go on? "Giving the right weight to things, which is not not giving a damn, but being realistic. Listening to the directives without being super concerned: we live what God gives us to live every day. The dearest thing I have is what is given to me to live everyday".