World Book and Copyright Day; 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly; Centenary of the Pontifical Biblical Institute

Francesca was born in Rome in 1384. She grew up in the comfort of a rich, noble family, but she hoped to enter the convent, a choice she was unable to make since her parents had other plans for her. At the young age of 13 she was married to Lorenzo de’ Ponziani, a rich man, also of nobility, and she went to live in his home in Trastevere. She accepted with simplicity the great gifts she received, including a loving husband, wealth, and three children, two of whom died. She was very generous with everyone, especially the poor, and she widened her charitable outreach by creating a community which today is called the Oblates of Santa Francesca Romana. The commemorative stamps for the fourth centenary of the ca-nonization are based on a series of frescoes from the 15th century by Antoniazzo Romano in the Tor de’ Specchi Convent of the Oblates of S. Francesca Romana in Rome. The works represent two moments in the life of the Saint: “The Miracle of the Grapes” and the “Healing of a Poor Man with an Injured Arm”. Saint Francesca Romana died in Rome in 1440  

Instituted in 1996, World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated each year on April 23rd as an occasion to pay tribute to this exceptional medium which promotes education, study and culture. The Day also highlights perspectives and challenges for authors and publishing. April 23rd is a symbolic date for world literature, for on this date in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Garcilaso de la Vega all died. Therefore, it was a na-tural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference to pay a world-wide tri-bute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) will hold its 75th General Conference and Assembly in Milan, Italy, from 23-27 August 2009. Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1927, IFL today has 1700 Members in 150 countries around the world. Its headquarters are located in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Pontifical Biblical Institute (P.B.I.) is a university-level institution of the Holy See. It was established by Pope Pius X with the Apostolic Letter Vinea electa of 7 May 1909, in order to be “a center of higher studies for Sacred Scripture in the city of Rome to promote Biblical doctrine and all related studies according to the spirit of the Catholic Church”. From its foundation the Institute was entrusted to the Society of Jesus. The main location of the Pontifical Biblical Institute is in Rome, but there is also a branch in Jerusalem, which was started in 1927.