This has been the headquarter of Gruppo Abele (Abel Group) since 2002, whose activity enhances fellowship spirit, friendly welcoming & sheltering, solidarity and nonviolence.
“I’m happy to spend my lifetime in merging earth and heaven”
– Rev. L. Ciotti
The ‘Factory’ was an industrial shed housing the CIMAT firm (Italian Machines & Tools Construction-Torino), belonging to the FIAT supplier pool, up to the mid-’70s. The building’s current layout and setting is reminiscent of its former function, in its inner framing, its wide rooms, its refurbished bright-painted bridge-cranes, its conference rooms named ‘workshops’.
The ‘And’ part of its name hints at the will in here to change the so many – too many – ‘Or’, cramming everyday life with divisions, labels, exclusion processes, over into ‘And’, capable of fostering meeting, exchange, routes of commitment, solidarity, justice.
Youths and grown-ups, social engagement and leisure time, memory and future, ease and unease, local and world-wide orientation, lay stand and spirituality, are some of the ‘and’ meant to be strived for within this experience.
Gruppo Abele is a society established in Torino in 1965 as a reshaping of Rev. Luigi Ciotti’s Gioventù Impegnata (Committed Youth) group. Ciotti became priest in 1972 and was bestowed ‘the street’ as a parish, his commitment having been from the start the attempt to merge a friendly welcoming of the weak with culture and politics.
Gruppo Abele was among the earliest covenanters with the Ministry of Defense for the substitute social commitment of young conscientious objectors to military service. It midwifed the establishment of CNCA (National Co-ordination of Shelter Communities) in 1982, and it had a role in establishing LILA (Italian AIDS-Contrast League).
Gruppo Abele under Rev. Ciotti’s lead also established its own publishing house (Edizioni Gruppo Abele) in 1983 and supplemented it with its monthly ‘Narcomafie’ magazine starting 1992. And, prominently, it set up Libera, societies, names and numbers against mafias, in 1995, a network rallying over 1.500 Italian and foreign partakers.
The Group’s activities range over Sheltering, Culture, International Cooperation, Work and some by-projects linked with its social aims.
Over quite a few years, the Group has set up shelter communities for addicts, listening and advising spots, relief-aid projects for slave and migrants trade victims and one conflict mediation counter.