Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Love Italy

A former student of the ITI was ordained last week. He is a Benedictine monk at the monastery in Norcia, Italy. They have a cool website. This is the monastery that Cody is interested in. There was a large contingent of professors and students from the ITI that attended the ordination. Cody and I were among them. It was a long but blessed weekend. It is about a 12-hour drive to Norcia from Trumau. I got the pleasure of driving in Italy once again. Italy is a beautiful country. We spent the first day driving, two days in Norcia, and the last day driving back. There was much to see in the little village of Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. The region is famous for prosciutto and black truffle. There are at least ten shops in town that are dedicated to selling these delicacies. After the ordination, the monastery hosted a meal for all the guests. It was amazing!! We ate for 2-½ hours straight! We started with antipasta consisting of the famous prosciutto and even truffle smothered on toast. It was delicious. We then had two separate pasta courses, a meat course with lamb and two kinds of pork with potatoes, a dessert course, and a fruit course. I think we started with five forks at our place setting. They even had to bring out more forks! Of course, the wine flowed freely and was very good.

Sunday evening we were able to travel to Cascia which is only 18 Km (~10 miles) from Norcia. There we visited the shrines of two Blesseds (Sister Mary Teresa Fasce) and Simone Fidati. He was involved in an Eucharistic miracle that occurred in Cascia (which we saw). 

On the way home, we were able to stop in Assisi and see the tomb of St. Francis and the Portiuncula. St. Francis’ tomb is a very holy place. I could have stayed there and prayed for days. The peace. Amazing. We then went to Santa Maria degli Angeli where the Portiuncula is housed. It is the church where St. Francis prayed and lived.

It was here that on 24 Feb., 1208, St. Francis of Assisi recognized his vocation; here was for the most part his permanent abode, after the Benedictines (of the Cluny Congregation from about 1200) had presented him (about 1211) with the little chapel Portiuncula, i.e. a little portion (of land); here also he died on Saturday, 3 October, 1226. Catholic Encyclopedia

It was very special to have Cody show me around a place that he loves. We were invited to pray terce with the monks in their private chapel. To be there with my son was a blessed moment.

I hope you enjoy the pictures! (click on the image to enlarge)


Famous fresco of St. Benedict holding the village of Norcia. That is St. Scholastica, his twin, on the other side of the Blessed Mother.



The basilica and monastery of St. Benedict on the left. The building on the right is the city hall.



Cody on front of statue of St. Benedict which is in the middle of the town square.



Narrow Italian street. Try driving a nine passenger van through these babies!



Inside the basilica of St. Rita



St. Rita



Basilica of St. Francis



The crew outside the basilica of St. Francis. Surprisingly all Americans except the baby (Austrian) and the woman on the far right, who is from Cape town, South Africa.



The Portiuncula

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