On Monday 4 May 2015, LITTLE EDEN Society launched a second book written about the Society and its late Founders, Domitilla Rota Hyams and her husband Danny, by Italian journalist and author, Daniela Taiocchi.
The book launch and evening of investment took place at the Italian Club in Bedfordview. A group of esteemed guests attended, among whom was His Excellency Ambassador Terzi (Former minister of Foreign Affairs in Italy), Dr Gabriele di Muzio (Consul General of Italy in Johannesburg), His Eminence Wilfred Cardinal Napier OFM, Don Giulivo Facchinetti (Parish priest of Domitilla Rota Hyams’ home town Almenno San Bartolomeo), Mayor Gianbattista Brioschi, Deputy Mayor Alessandro Frigeni, Giuliano Rota Martir (President of the Associazione Domitilla Rota Hyams Onlus), Remo Ceriotti (treasurer of the Onlus) and other guests from Italy. MEC Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu also addressed guests during the evening regarding participation needed from Government and civil society to help worthy causes such as LITTLE EDEN. Numerous local business men and women also attended the special occasion.
Whereas the first book, Il Piccolo Paradiso (A Little Paradise) recounted the story of LITTLE EDEN’s founding, in Vuoti a Rendere (Emptied for Filling), Taiocchi delves deeper into the anthropological and theological underpinnings of this incredible saga.
The late Danny and Domitilla Hyams have an incredible story to tell. A story that begins when they first met during the Second World War, in a village in Italy, and how their lives and faith have resulted in LITTLE EDEN Society in South Africa, which has accepted, in the space of more than forty years, nearly a thousand children with profound intellectual disabilities. Domitilla passed away in January 2011 and Danny followed her home in December 2012.
The author, Daniela Taiocchi, traces the stages of their lives, letting objects and places ‘speak’ and tell a story. A house, a fireplace, a rosary, bells, a forest, a book, a handkerchief, some flowers, a bridge; which lead to digressions in the areas of sanctity, of beauty, of madness, of prayer and of the war. Daniela includes the musings of philosophers, theologians and farmers who know a part of Domitilla’s story. Sitting around the fire they talk about Danny and Domitilla and recall events, smells and flavours of yesterday, some of them thousands of kilometres apart. A husband and wife, a man and woman, who with determination and consistency, in the course of over half a century, battle against apartheid and against the culture of differences creating divisions between people.
Taiocchi’s book offers the reader a glimpse at unexpected beauty and meaning in the broken bodies of LITTLE EDEN’s angels. It also explains why LITTLE EDEN as an organisation is so passionate about caring for persons with intellectual disability and believes that each of its residents has a purpose in life.
Excerpts on Ambassador Terzi’s Facebook page about his experience while visiting LITTLE EDEN are quoted: “The human story of Domitilla Rota and her husband Danny Hyams, has greatly and emotionally affected me … to be human to those who, in our world, are considered without future and without hope; totally disabled from birth with minimal cognitive development, rejected and abandoned by their families and society … this can only be understood by going there in person.
“Passion, moments of joy, interactions between the most disadvantaged and those who with deep dedication and devotion assist them and stay close to them … It is no coincidence that LITTLE EDEN has taken the first steps in that piece of land that connects Albenza, the birthplace of Domitilla Rota, to Sotto il Monte, the village of Roncalli and Pope John and to South Africa and it is not a coincidence that so much support for this extraordinary humanitarian work continues to be guaranteed from Italy.”
To obtain a copy of Vuoti a Rendere or for more information, contact Nichollette Zulu or Lucy Slaviero on 011 609 7246.