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.
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
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
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.