We saw each other again at a party of one of our friends. Up until that day we had shared other important moments together. We had asked ourselves many times how we could use our professional background in service of the Church.
We were a group of Catholic professionals specialised in finance in search of a path which would lead us towards a coherent lifestyle. In coherence with the life of those who believe, so that our professional strengths could be used as a support for the Religious and Ecclesiastic World. From this idea was borne RE, a company whose very acronym brings to light its objectives. It was the early eighties.
The two prerogatives were always very clear as they were indicated to us by a friend: professionalism and spirit of service.
"If you wish to do good work you have to combine professionalism with the Spirit of Service. This is the only way you will truly serve the Church", he told us. This man - which I consider a man of Providence - is no longer with us today. However RE Group continues along the path which was also laid by him.
Francesco, Ugo, Enzo and I were left. It took us a few months to complete an accurate research plan and to better understand exactly what could have been our area of intervention. We spoke to directors of Religious and Ecclesiastic organisations, we brainstormed with them. And through this emerged their needs, their expectations. We knew and understood this unique reality because we had taken part since we were children. As practising Catholics we were already close to the Church, but at that moment we saw the possibility of being so in a different, perhaps more concrete way. It is from these meetings with the priests and nuns, whom we already had the fortune to know, that over the next few years we came to understand their needs in terms of managing their organisations and assets.
The services offered by our company were seen as a valid instrument in achieving the ultimate goal of charity within each one of them. After evaluating a series of initiatives we came to understand that, in the end, a bank agreement might have been the best way to serve the Church. Many of us, prior to this point, had already worked towards this objective by carrying out agreements on behalf of religious associations. We found organisations which strongly felt this need, and which, in asking us for consulting advice, also revealed the need for many other services.
It was at this point that RE began to grow, in people and in ideas. We grew because the requests from the people for whom we worked also grew.
We asked Stefano for help. Stefano had been working for years in the construction industry. His is a family of important construction developers. Important because for over one hundred years they had worked for prestigious clients. His grandfathers had been contracted to complete a series of construction projects in the Vatican. Hence Stefano was just the right person. He was Catholic and he knew the Church and its needs, which in this sector seemed always more impelling. And after all he is a true friend. The need for renovations and restorations had to be balanced with the scarce resources of the proprietors.
We searched for a resolution to the problem, which in part we had already done through bank agreements, which was able to free up resources which otherwise would have been lost. We studied and documented ways to obtain truly advantageous financing. The opportunities are out there. But it is necessary to remain always up to date.
We realised how important it was to offer the possibility to invest savings in funds which support socially responsible activities and initiatives. So was borne ETHICA.
A while later we met Egidio, an experienced journalist with a strong background working for publications linked to the Church community. He joined us. To him we gave the task of helping religious and ecclesiastic organisations understand the importance of communicating their messages, make known the motivation behind certain decisions, at times inconceivable to those who lack faith. In other words we challenged him to quite a difficult task.
The RE Group continued to grow. We realised how many more needs were hidden behind the numerous activities of the Church in its dedication to many fronts: from educational initiatives to assistance to the needy, healing and aiding the ill, from spiritual training to humanitarian missions in Italy and throughout the world.
We decided therefore to structure ourselves in such a way as to work closely alongside them in every region. We established offices across Italy. Our dialogue with religious and ecclesiastic members continued to grow. Faith also continued to grow. We were asked to be involved in other types of interventions: from the simplest to the most complex.
Economes would call upon us prior to making important decisions. Choosing for example whether to sell or reconvert prestigious real estate properties which, while requiring accurate evaluations, had also made part of the history of the congregations, orders and parochial groups, was not an easy decision to make.
To help in this quest was Michele, a Catholic professor at Bocconi University in Milan Italy, who also got involved academic experts able to respond to the questions which were asked of us; Michele also had the capacity to select just the right persons. The longstanding friendship with religious and ecclesiastic organisations led us to truly become their consultants in every scope and sphere. We were even asked advice as to what type of heating systems to install. Andrea and Giacomo joined the group and brought with them their expertise in this sector.
What made us different from other operators was our absolute discretion and respect for religious representatives. It has always been this way. Especially in activities which require absolute confidentiality. Such as real estate buying and selling. Paolo and Alessio have always approached their work with a consistent philosophy. Being responsible for real estate of such great value and prestige means having gained the trust of those who have assigned the task. A faith which honours those who have been invested with it. Over time requests began to arrive from other countries, where the Church was facing unique problems such as in regions subject to totalitarian communism. We also intervened there, wherever we were asked for help. There were those who asked us to assist in the management of holiday residences.
We gave Nicoḷ the task of managing these areas which, in turn, blossomed into other initiatives which had the scope of helping others know the sanctuaries of the faith, of sacredness and of the spirit. Those of us who began are still with us. With the exception of the man of Providence who showed us the path and whom, I am convinced, still helps us in every step of the way.
From the need of the Catholic publications to collect advertising in harmony with the values and messages transmitted by the pastoral of communications, was borne the idea to create an advertising representative.
Today the RE Group is a much larger family from whence we started; we are very clear on our origins and on our objectives, which are closely knit with the most important aspect for those who work: ETHICS.
This guides us in all that we do. Nothing can be greater than ethics. Otherwise the RE Group could not exist today.
Via G. G. Belli, 122 - 00193 - Roma - Italia - tel. +39 06 32813200 - fax +39 06 32813201