Thursday, November 3, 2016


All of the churches in St. Benedict’s birthplace of Norcia (Nursia), Italy, were destroyed by the October 30 earthquake that leveled the medieval Basilica of St. Benedict. Amazingly the statue of Our Father St. Benedict was left standing.

St. Benedict

Dear friends,

`”How can I even begin to describe the scene we witnessed yesterday in Norcia?  
It was like those photographs of bombed-out churches from the Second World War. It reminded me of all those ruined monasteries one sees passing through the English countryside. It was an image of devastation. All the churches in Norcia are on the ground. Every single one. The roofs caved in on all of them; they are no more. What remains of them are a few corners, a facade, a window with the sun coming through from the wrong side. Inside are “bare ruin’d choirs” as Shakespeare wrote of the destroyed monasteries in his time.

The wonder, the miracle, is that there were no casualties. All the fear and anxiety following the first few earthquakes now seem a providential part of God’s mysterious plan to clear the city of all inhabitants. He spent two months preparing us for the complete destruction of our patron’s church so that when it finally happened we would watch it, in horror but in safety, from atop the town.

Basilica of St. Benedict destroyed

Is it over yet? We do not know. These are mysteries which will take years -- not days or months -- to understand. We watch and pray all together on the mountainside for Norcia and for the world. The priests go into town to visit the sick and the homeless. We are grateful for your prayers, as ever.
                      In Christ,Fr. Benedict    Subprior  (Benedictine Monks of Norcia)

On November 2, Pope Francis called Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia to assure the residents of Norcia of his prayers following the recent earthquake there.

The Holy Father “also said he was saddened by the collapse of so many sacred buildings, symbols of faith and identity of the people,” Archbishop Boccardo told Vatican Radio.

The prelate spoke of the “difficulties and the fear of people who are homeless or insecure in these two months of earthquakes and great loss of the heritage of faith and art located in our valley.”

We pray for the people who have lost their homes and their sacred places.

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