This is the fifth letter of ten between Abbot Follo and Michele Zullo.
Below is the original letter as a jpeg image followed by the English translation. I have attached some comments and notes at the end.
ORIGINAL TEXT IN ITALIAN
Paduli, 12 January 1950
I am noticeably late in responding to you for reasons that I will now explain.
Above all, I am pleased that you have received the Certificate of Nomination as Commendatore, and therefore, as I have already expressed in my Christmas letter to you, once again I send my best congratulations to you and to your whole family.
We have the diffuser, and it has already been installed; and now the Organ works very well and everyone is more than pleased and grateful for the magnificent gift from you to your dear fellow citizens of Paduli. Now we await the Bronze Plaque so that your great effort will be passed on to posterity, and it is for this reason that I am awaiting it always.
I am still awaiting the circular [letter?] to the Padulesi that should arrive, just as you wrote to me in your letter. The news that you sent me regarding your misfortunes has deeply saddened me, and I pray to the Lord that he will return calm and tranquility to your family.*(See note below.)
Truthfully, I had not written to your brother-in-law, Giovannino, for the simple reason that he should not have comported himself toward you in that manner. You cannot imagine how it angered me when you wrote to me about Giovannino’s bad treatment toward you and his lack of trust toward you. For this reason, I did not write to him. However, given that you want me to, I will write to him.
I conveyed your respects to His Holy Eminence the Archbishop, and he may well write to you directly.
In order to come to Rome during the Holy Year, one needs approximately 10 thousand lire per person, which you should communicate to your wife from your godmother, Tino. I myself have handed on the 5 thousand lire from Politano** to the nuns; and it would be well if you would reproach him for making me look very bad; and I have written to him that he should not have used my name; but he has not replied.
Forgive me that I did not respond sooner; but you should know that my sister, the one who is married, fell and broke her foot, and now she still has it in a cast; and my niece had typhus and that her situation was very serious; and you can imagine what our holidays have been like with such calamities. Now both of my sisters and my niece are much better, and we hope that they will soon be completely well.
All of us, however, have had coughs and colds for a number of days, and I believe that the same is true for you and yours.
Have you decided to come for the Holy Year? I would be very happy to be able to receive you in my home for the whole period that you would stay in Paduli. It would be such an honor for me and for my desire to repay everything that you have done for our benefit.
I repeat once again: You must be my guest and no one else’s; my modest house will be at your disposal completely. And also your kind wife must accompany you on your visit. Do not deprive me of your hearing from you. I am always anxious to read your letters.
With salutations to you from me and mine, with brotherly affection, I affectionately salute you.
Your friend always,
Abbot G. Battista Follo
COMMENTS AND NOTES
[Letter from Abbot Giovanni Battista Follo to Michele Zullo dated Paduli, 12 January 1950. Consisting of one “A4” sized page written on one side in type. Envelope is postmarked 14-1-50, that is, January 14, 1950, Paduli Benevento. It is stamped with two 50 lire airmail stamps, one 5 lire stamp and one 3 lire stamp. The envelope is addressed as follows: “Al Commendatore, Sig. ZULLO MICHELE, 186 – 05 Jamaica Ave., U.S.A., HOLLLIS – N.Y.”, that is “To Commendatore Signor Zullo Michele…” etc. On the back of the envelope is written “Abate G.B. FOLLO (Benevento) PADULI, ITALY. Translated by Alexander P. DeAngelis, and revised May 5, 2015]
*This paragraph is difficult to translate because it relates to things that we are not aware of. We do not know what the “circular” (circolare) is about and why it is addressed to the Padulesi, but apparently Michele mentioned it in a previous letter to the Abbot that unfortunately we do not have. We do not know what “misfortunes”(disgrazie) to which the Abbot alludes. Perhaps the misfortunes are related to the following paragraph in which the Abbot mentions some problems between Michele and his brother-in-law.
** “Politano” refers to Eugenio Politano who will appear again in a future letter from the Abbot. There was a falling out between the Abbot and him.
The Abbot states that the Bronze Plaque will transmit Michele’s great work to posterity but says nothing about the donations of the hundreds of other Padulesi immigrants who donated money for the Organ and the Plaque.