Unum Lumen

“Sufficit unum lumen in tenebris” is a motto that was suggested to the Duchess of Parma, Isabella d’Este. She took it as her personal impresa in 1525. Meaning ‘single a light suffices against the darkness’, it referred to her isolation in Mantua. Isabella would have known that phrase as it appears in John 1:5 as ‘lux in tenebris’. Her life was not a common one, but she served as a representative of a renaissance woman and her reputation for intelligence, prudence, strength, cunning, and allure lives on even today.

I admire women like Isabella, who were born into this world at a certain time in a certain place inheriting a role that they ultimately rejected, forging a path as far towards free will as they possibly could and serving as a beacon for similarly-spirited ones to follow.One light suffices. Truly. The human spirit reveals that truth every generation. Time and again we prevail against tyranny, injustice, ignorance, oppression, mediocrity, sloth, cynicism, and extinction. As I grow and learn in this endeavor to “be” Giada Magdalena Alberti I also grow closer to every person who has ever existed, in a figurative sense. We know that everything is relative because a famous scientist theorized it for us. I am fortunate that with each new truth about life in renaissance Italy and each new skill I read about and attempt, I also learn something valuable about my own place and time. I learn that necessity is truly the mother of invention, that knowledge IS power, and that we are really all too alike to allow national or physical boundaries to pit us against each other.

Love, pain, free will, beauty, plague, serenity, longing, and enlightenment are common catalysts and obstacles that every being experiences. . .so we must remember the lessons learned from those who came before us so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We must not forget our past so that we can better flourish in our future. I learned that from Hattie and Barbara when I was a very little girl, and I know now they gave me the truth of it. I harvest past knowledge and share it, just as I will share the knowledge of those two women who were born during WWI and the great depression, respectively. I am a light, just as they were. Are you?

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