Tag Archives: Italy

8 October: Take Care of You.

tea42

Another L’Arche posting, sent by James, Community Leader here in Canterbury, but originating from the community in Bologna, Italy.

L'Arche Comunità L'Arcobaleno

Have you seen this 5 minute video by L’Arche International? It describes the changing nature of relationship between aging father and daughter (with Downs syndrome) beautifully – from L’Arche in Italy. Always brings a lump to my throat and describes really well both the humanity of the ‘cared for’ and the vulnerability and fragility of relationships. Well worth a quick watch with a cup of tea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD_DFwlDbXw&list=PL0_C91MnwZxSaSIjfAo3_Inim15dLwIU1&index=7

James Cuming

Community Leader – Director,

L’Arche Kent.

As you might expect, this link will also lead you to other short films about L’Arche around the world. I remember, when I worked in L’Arche Edmonton, meeting a professor who gave me a motto for working with people with disabilities: TRY ANOTHER WAY. L’Arche does just that, and it works.

MMB.

You can find L’Arche Kent on Facebook and at http://www.larche.org.uk/Sites/kent/Pages/about-larche-kent

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15 July: Feast of Saint Bonaventure

bonaventure.rye (392x800)

 

Saint Bonaventure was born in the small Italian town of Bagnoregio, near Viterbo, probably in 1217. He studied at the University of Paris, where he joined the Order of Friars Minor. He later taught and became a Master in the school of theology at the same university. He wrote many great academic works of theology.

In 1257, at the age of forty, he was called unexpectedly out of his academic world to become the Minister General of his Order, responsible for leading all the Friars Minor worldwide. He was the seventh successor of Saint Francis of Assisi in this role. In his new role as Minister General, he managed to continue teaching through his writing. His writings of this period were less esoteric and more concerned with spirituality in the lives of the friars and the Christian people they served.

Saint Bonaventure had a gift for uniting different schools of thought into a harmonious synthesis. He used this gift through his writing in efforts to bring peace among opposing factions in his Order and later in the service of the worldwide Church. He was consecrated Cardinal Archbishop of Albano in 1273. He then assisted in preparations for the Second Council of Lyon in 1274, where he played a key role in the efforts to unite the Eastern and Western Christian churches.

Having put his energies into a General Chapter of his Order and then three sessions of the great Church Council in the same year, 1274, he died at the friary in Lyons on 15th July, aged around fifty seven. The Pope and those who had attended the Council, both Eastern and Western Christians were present for his funeral. Saint Bonaventure was canonised in 1482 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588.

Saint Bonaventure; tireless Franciscan teacher, writer and peacemaker, pray for us.

FMSL

Saint Bonaventure at Saint Antony’s Church, Rye, Sussex.

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25 June: Shared Table VII, Lunch with Pope Benedict.

pope-xmas-meal

Pope Emeritus Benedict has contrasted his style with that of Pope Francis,suggesting that he should have got among the people more. Yet Benedict did something radical in this direction when he came out of the Vatican and shared a Christmas meal with homeless people at the Sant’Egidio Community. (Amazingly, protocol demanded that the Pope should not be seen eating!)

He told the gathering:

It is a moving experience for me to be with you, to be with Jesus’ friends, because Jesus especially loves people who are suffering, people in difficulty, and wants them to become his brothers and sisters. Thank you for this possibility! I am very glad and I thank all those who prepared the meal, lovingly and competently I was truly aware of the good cooking, congratulations! and I also thank those who served the food.

At lunch I heard of sorrowful events full of humanity and also stories of love rediscovered here at Sant’Egidio: the experiences of elderly, homeless or disabled people, emigrants, gypsies, individuals with financial problems or other difficulties who are all, in one way or another, sorely tried by life. I am here with you to tell you that I am close to you and love you, and that you and your affairs are not far from my thoughts but rather at the centre and in the heart of the Community of believers, hence also in my heart.

With the words of St John Chrysostom I would like to remind each one: “Consider you have become a priest of Christ, giving with your own hand not flesh but bread, and not Blood, but a cup of water” (Homily on the Gospel of Matthew, 42,3). What riches are offered to life by God’s love expressed in real service to our brothers and sisters who are in need! Like St Lawrence, a Deacon of the Church of Rome, when the Roman magistrates of the time sought to intimidate him, to make him handover the Church’s treasure, he pointed to the poor of Rome as the true treasure of the Church. We can make St Lawrence’s gesture our own and say that you poor people really are the Church’s treasure.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2009/december/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20091227_pranzo-poveri.pdf

Pope Benedict XVI visits the Community of Sant’Egidio.

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Notes from a Pilgrimage: V.

This stone outside the main South Porch of Canterbury Cathedral marks the start of the ancient  Via Francigena through France to Rome.

More from Sister Frances Teresa as she makes her way through Italy

 
19 September

Posted: 20 Sep 2016 07:15 AM PDT

Today we went to Poggio Bustone, the place of pardon, also the place where Francis went very early on with a bunch of brothers. The locals thought they were scruffy and disreputable and shunned them. So to break the atmosphere, Francis went up to them and said Buon giorno, buona gente, Good morning good people, and the ice began to break. Today on his feast a friar goes round the village knocking on all their doors and saying Buon  giorno buona gente!

When we arrived we found a French Mass already in progress, but the nice guardian said they would not be long and they weren’t. This is the sanctuary where Francis finally found a sense of having been forgiven by God and the friars make it a centre of forgiveness, schools bring children here for first confessions too. So those who wanted had the chance of confession. André began by speaking about his niece who had had twins, and towards the end of her pregnancy, she was so big she felt there was no room in her for anything else! Sin is like that, he said, it fills us up till there is less and less room for Christ. So everyone went to confession!! After that there was some prayer space, the energetic ones, about eleven of them, climbed the mountain up to the top where there is a chapel and a cave where Francis used to stay with Brother Elias. Once there they rang a bell as the tradition requires! Then they came down very pleased with themselves! I sat on a bench and thought some thoughts and wrote a bit more of the essay on solitude I am writing for the book Andre is producing. I keep writing little bits but when I get home I shall have to see how to cobble them together!

Then back into the bus and back to the Cabrini Centre for pranzo. André had a guest, the 5times great niece of Fr Pamphilo who was the Italian friar sent to USA in the late 1800s to minister to the Italian immigrants. Pamphilo or perhaps Pamfilo then went on to be the founder  of the Province, and of St Bonaventure’s University in Washington and of two religious congregations, two because he founded one then the bishop of another diocese wanted the sisters but their own bishop would not let them leave so Pamphilo founded another lot. Great man!

With the help of Margaret Carney when she was President of the University, they wanted to bring his body to USA but it could not be found. This is because in Italy they put the bodies in the grave or, more likely as in this case, into a sort of little house, then after some years, when the shelf fills up, they shovel the bones to the back and put the new body in front. All very well but who knows now which bones are whose? However the latest is that they are thinking of a way, possibly through DNA testing. He had seven siblings all of whom had seven or eight children, so there are millions of descendants from whom to get DNA. Pamfilo’s niece, called Laura, is about late 40s, lovely girl.

As I have never seen the city of Rieti, she took me in during siesta time, very noble of her. She showed me the city which is small, the cathedral and the old part, very picturesque. We were just passing the church door of the Poor Clares when the portiere epened it so we said hullo, and she turned out to be a very friendly and chatty Sicilian.  She was very pleased to meet another PC especially from England where she thought mercy.carving. (328x640)everyone was a Protestant! We had a great chat, she told me the monastery is built on the foundations of the house of Angelo Trancredi, a former knight who joined Francis and that they still have a room which goes back to that time. The monastery was founded on 1230s, within the life-time of Clare. It housed 34 when she entered and now they are eight and all old. Every day they run what she called Mensa Santa Chiara, the table of St Clare, with the help of local lay people, and feed over 100 poor people every day.

Laura, my guide, told me that their abbess, who was younger, got worn out and transferred to the monastery of Camerino. As it happened, I had recently translated a letter from the sisters in Camerino appealing for help because their monastery is 3/4 destroyed in the earthquake, including the church. There are five or six Poor Clare monasteries damaged n the earthquake. Even Cortona told me they had felt the shocks though had no damage. You wonder what will happen to all these monasteries, even more so when less than 50 yards up the road I found another Poor Clare monastery but nobody was around. In fact the place looks deserted, I hate to think what it is like inside. So sad. Then Laura took me home, having thoroughly practised my Italian and somewhat tired!
More anon, love to one and all ft

 

 

 

 

 

20 September

 

This morning we went to Fonte Colombo where Francis wrote the Rule, had his eyes cauterised and lived at various times before that very peacefuly in a lovely spot.

After Mass we had the historical visit. This is one of the friaries which go back to Francis’ time, though not the church we see today, chapel really. Because this is such a small group, only fourteen, we didn’t divide them as we usually do, half coming to me for a recommitment ceremony and half going to Murray to visit the Magdalen chapel and see the Tau on the wall almost certainly painted by Francis himself. Instead they all came as one which was nicer when possible. I had lit the candles and was waiting until they came, watching a lizard running up a tree branch but I did not have a chance to find out what he would do when he reached the end because the pilgrims arrived! Because of the steep slope of the land, he would have a long long drop if he dropped. But I guess he has more sense.

The recommitment is always moving, very simple a short scripture reading, a psalm which we said altogether, then they have a lit candle each from the ones standing on the small stone altar amid the mouse droppings! They read a statement of commitment all together, and we give them a card each signed by the three staff. It means as much  as each one invests in it, but nearly always they do invest greatly. You don’t come on a pilgrimage like this and then fool around.

Then they had some free time, photograph time, prayer time, gazing into space time, some beautiful space to gaze into and the sky was as clear as can be, almost every rock of the mountains opposite could be seen. The temperature last night went down to 11C so a big change from the temperature in Rome. It was quite a shock to wake up in the morning and hear a cock crow, some rooks, a distant dog and a cow mooing, instead of two hundred cars and seven hundred motor bikes, all honking and hooting! Out of my window which overlooks the front drive, I can see pine trees and grass and hear the permanently cross squirrel in the trees. The little cat Rocchi who was a small kitten last year, seemed to remember me and jumped up on my lap purring like a train.

All for the moment as it is almost time for the talk. I know I have heard it before but each time I rehear it, I seem to find something else good.

All for now, love to one and all
Ft

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Notes from a Pilgrimage: IV 17 September

 

tagliacozzo

Tagliacozzo Piazza by Alessandro57

The same grumpy bus driver, doing everything he could to redeem himself, took us by a new and much better route onto the autostrada and off we went towards Tagliacozzo, almost two hours’ drive. We drove up into the Alban Hills, covered with trees and with bare rock coming through dramatically.

Tagliacozzo is a small hill top village in what is now the ski resort area (or will be when it snows) but is also the resting place of the body of Thomas of Celano. Francis’ first biographer. When we arrived we walked up the narrow cobbled streets through the small piazza and on up to the 13th century friary at the top of the hill. There the guardian greeted us, as friendly as he had been in previous years and, truly or not, gave every impression of remembering we three which is always nice. After a quick look round we had the two lectures, on the sources for Francis and the sources for Clare and there was a very lively discussion at the end. We had Mass in the church with the body of Thomas of Celano lying in his niche in the wall. He too seems mostly incorrupt in that the face, hands and feet you see are his actual ones. His feet, turned up at the bottom of the glass case, looked rather flattened, more like flippers and his face was a dark greyish brown colour. We wondered what he thought of his grey conventual habit, it is a conventual church! Andre gave the homily about the power of words and then of The Word, and we prayed for all writers which was nice.

Then we progressed to the Hotel Mariana for the lunch of the year. We had a mere four courses with several side dishes ending with a plate of choice desserts each, a profiterole, fresh with real cream, a small pot of ice cream, and a sort of white tiramisu but when we asked him what it was called he said it was not tiramisu but a speciality unique to his house and, we suspect, his mother, since although pretty ancient, she is clearly the queen of the kitchen! We were all overfull, just what I had come determined to avoid, and took some scarmoza home as a soggy bag. Scarmoza is a delicious dish of cheese which would not be difficult to do, it is not unlike the hot cheese we used to have in Arundel, but the slices are thin, dipped in flour and the fried in olive oil until they have browned a bit.

Finally really full and cheered by the fact that one of them got locked in the loo but was finally rescued, we piled sleepily into the bus. The driver had had the same lunch and was not at all grumpy. He said he made what sounds like a very nice onion chutney that he called marmalade, and tomorrow he is going to give me the recipe. Encouraged by this he then said he had made a special liqueur and if we brought glasses, we could try it. So tomorrow we will climb in the bus armed with 16 bicchierini and see what happens!!!

Tomorrow is a lecture on prayer, walk to St Peter’s for the Sunday audience, back for pranzo and off to Rieti in the coach. So my toothbrush is packed and this is more or less up to date. Andre had two cousins up from the south and here for supper last night, so he invited Murray and myself to sit with them over supper as they speak English, though the older one Marissa, says she reads it but is bad at speaking. So I have invited her for a crash course in Hollington! We shall see!

Love to all ft

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Interruption: Holy Week in Puglia

The editors of the site called ‘Edge of Humanity’, which offers interesting photographic portfolios, liked something on ours. To return the favour, I’ll point our readers to these pictures by Gaetano Fisicaro, who has recorded the traditional local processions of Holy Week in the South of Italy.

Maurice.

Holy Week in Puglia

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