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The "Republic of San Procolo"

Following discussions at the home of Don Bensi , which for Catholic Florence was a point of reference for students and intellectuals, it was decided to institute a Sunday Mass to unite all those whom the Conference of San Vincenzo, founded by La Pira, gathered together from time to time in homes, at the public dormitory or in hospices.

Image Professional men, intellectuals and students were at work in this Conference, and these formed the original nucleus of the friends of San Procolo. Over the decades these were joined by many other brethren, some of whom represented an elect and important group in the as yet incompletely known history of the Catholic movement in Florence: the magistrate Renzo Poggi, the engraver Pietro Parigi, the writer Nicola Lisi, Enzo Sarti who was La Pira’s secretary at the Ministry of Labour (he died very young and was a shining model of sanctity), Fioretta Mazzei, his chief companion-in-arms in his Christian adventure, Marigù Pelleri, one of the San Frediano group, until her recent death very active in caring for the most neglected in the city, Luciano Niccolai Gamba, his first secretary at Palazzo Vecchio, later deacon in Florence cathedral, Avvocato Cavini and many, many others.

Around the restricted group of collaborators La Pira gathered many of the artists and intellectuals who at that time and well into the 1950s contributed to the lively atmosphere of Florence and brought it resounding international prestige. These were the distinguished authors of the “Foglio di Lettura di San Procolo”, which appeared periodically with their texts and drawings, for the most part anonymous. The “Poveri” also had their own culture magazine, which took a worthy place beside the leading publications which in the Florence of those years created the literary and artistic history of Italy.