I mentioned to y’all the other day when I was in Italy that I had been deeply impressed by the Tipiloschi, an orthodox Catholic community in San Benedetto del Tronto, and especially their community school, the Scuola Libera G.K. Chesterton (G.K. Chesterton Free School — the “free” means it is not government supported).
While there, I saw a short promotional clip the school prepared for its English-speaking donors. It was charming, and really captured the sweet spirit of the school. I asked Marco Sermarini, the school’s co-founder and a leader of the Tipiloschi, if he could send the clip to me. Today, the school sent this link to the clip, which I share with their permission. Watch all the way to the end to see Marco and his wife Federica, the school’s principal.
The school’s motto is a quote from Chesterton: “A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
That’s how they roll. They are fiercely, joyously countercultural Catholic traditionalists. I visited the school, had pizza with parents, and the thing you notice most of all is how happy these people are, and how … normal. They are open about how serving Jesus Christ is the guiding principle of everything they do. And they do a lot. There’s the school, which they open to people outside their community, and keep tuition low so working people can afford it. As distributists, they run several cooperatives, including one called Hobbit (they’re big Tolkien fans), that organizes gardening, plumbing, and other kinds of manual labor; part of its function is to give jobs to prisoners trying to transition back into society. They run a sports club, and pooled their resources to buy an abandoned piece of property on top of a hill overlooking the Adriatic. The group and their families have been working to restore it as a retreat. They meet there for sports, for picnics, for mass, for catechism lessons, and for gardening. They have a small farm there to teach their kids (and any other kids who want to come around) how to raise fruits and vegetables.
These people are the best. A model Benedict Option community. Do watch to the end of the Chesterton video clip. You need to see and hear Marco and Federica to get an idea of their spirit, which is the spirit of the school, and the Tipiloschi. To learn more about the Scuola Chesterton, including how you can help them in their mission, click here.