PREFACE

The fact that this book exists is arbitary because it should not have been written. And because it should have remained printed, but invisible for reasons of discretion, in the most inviolable inner silences and memory of who now has decided to write the book on the computer for reasons of duty and faith.
There are endless libraries of books that are ready and well-finished, clear and full of sounds, but that will never surpass from the intimate and jealous keeping of he who has woven the sensations only in the memory. A writer who has the intention of being the only one to read the pages, leaf through them, run through them again, annotate them, indulging in a very private cinematographic game. A game of the seductive, painful and sometimes excruciating inquires, that come together and call together, rise up and steal away to then reform - continuously and from the very beginning a highly secret film.
Anybody who has loved a person who has left his body to spread to where there exists no measure, recognizes this acute need of the soul: not a word on that which pierces, go beyond, show nothing, mourn in the dark.
This would also have been the case with Rosangela Rastelli, the sister of a handsome and generous Christian doctor who has never been consoled. A doctor for the others, who burned with a scientific passion, never holding back and knowing no limits, he was a clear leader in the search and in the discovery, yet he accepted God's will to have him closer.
That wise doctor, that surgeon of decisive undertakings was called Gian Rastelli. And we would be forced to say that he died young if we were to truly believe - which is not the case with us - that the wheel of existence is to be measured in years rather than in density of works.

Gian, working hard day after day without a break, was one of those young Italian doctors who, in the nebulous period after the war - in 1961 - crossed the Atlantic to add to their personal talents to the doctrinal importance of American doctors, to learn more and test their abilities, to grow and serve with more restrained resolve.
Gian in his white coat - and everyone agrees even in these pages - was a champion for all. He was generous in tenderness for his patients, easy-going in happy moments, and on his knees as soon as the half-light of a church engulfed him.
I who write about him with the joy of having been his fellow-townsman without ever having met him in person in the city (in the Parma of decades ago, where the generations quickly followed, where all of the young were anxious for action, with each young man clinging to the group of companions), I am one of those - among the many in Italy and America - who continued to urge Rosangela to provide us with something about the vivd and incessant case of her brother. To give us some of her pages illuminated with reflections, forever grief stricken, and never lacking to offer occasions for comparison.
We did not press Rosangela because there was an urgent need for a book with a golden frame, but because of an obligation, assigned to all believers, not to deny to the bystanders that he meets (and they are hungry and thirsty for news) any story that includes the ferment and the light, any case of stimulating service, any story of a life lived without ever losing sight of the Sacred text.
If it remains true that the surgeon and scientist Rastelli would never have permitted - as Rosangela assures us - a set of pages about himself (he was adverse to dedications, tenaciously adverse), it also remains true that: we all have the right to know about a new event - this among others - where the importance of a life cannot be catalogued away under the heading of "discretion".

The good doctors who pledge themselves so that the overflowing pain of the helpless is relieved with unyielding rigor, with justified perseverance, with creative intelligence beyond all personal sacrifice, must never die because that farewell does not exempt them from the duty to indicate, to underline in red the paths that lead to superior horizons. And even today Internet surfers can come across a thousand web pages that describe the continuing and unsurpassed validity of the "Rastelli operations".
Rosangela patiently held her teaching post in English language and literature and borrowed from that culture the use of understatement, the tact of keeping in the shadows, of not revealing, of passing out of sight.
However, with a heart-felt apology to her brother, she finally accepted to give details of the story that is unravelled here in quiet, appropriate sequences.
The book, this book, which slowly came to the fore, documents once again the evidence that Good has been able, is able and will always be able to count on those magnificent useless servants that God calls "friends". In short, these pages are the deposition of a just man, not the first nor the last. They contradict the glittering exegetes of the mystery of life, usually cutting in their theorizing about the desperation of God for the millenary desertions of men. But where is the desperation? It is a steamed-up slide.

Before the world was created God knew that there would be people like Gian, that there would have continued to be such people and that they would not fail us. All of those like Gian will continue in their task, hic et nunc. They send brilliance, they transmit and reconfirm, they pass sleepless nights. And such people intertwine, they add up, the Gian of yesterday and the Gian of today, all different, but all so equally determined to answer with grace and force the expectations of he who underwrites, at each new dawn, the cosmic structures of the creation.

Giorgio Torelli


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