Father Benedict, the subprior of the Norcia monastery, e-mails to the monks’ supporters today:
Monks have been making rounds in these days to the various tendopoli, that is, to camping centers with military grade tents for families who have lost their homes. It is becoming clearer that most of the damage was done in the countryside around Norcia to the homes of farmers and tradesmen (often those who have the hardest time making ends meet, but a resiliency to rebuild and the skills to do it). Our general contractor, a wall mason named Piero who has become like a brother to many of the monks, has his 2 sons, wife and mother-in-law all in one tent. They cook out of a makeshift kitchen in their garage. We’ve been able to help him get his rebuilding underway and yesterday he returned the favor by preparing Cena (dinner) for the 35 of us monks and workers who spent the day helping clean up and improve our tent site.
Those workers, our beloved Tipiloschi and 6 friends from Rome, also managed to build a cross from reclaimed wood and mount it on one of the highest and most visible areas of the property. A poignant reminder of the one thing in our lives which cannot and will not change. Ave Crux, spes unica.
Friday evening, the first Friday of the month, we honored the Sacred Heart with the litany and Benediction before the Blessed Sacrament. The eastward orientation of the chapel meant that at the final Benediction, all of Norcia was included. Though material needs are often the most noticeable, an earthquake (or a similar tragedy) brings out simmering conflicts in families which would otherwise remain hidden. Those can bring much anxiety and tension to the family, but, with His grace, also healing. We pray that Christ’s Real Presence will bring relief and hope to all those suffering.
Note: If you want to help the rebuilding process, you can give to the monks by visiting: http://en.nursia.org/earthquake-relief/
It makes me so happy that the book I am writing now will be holding up these monks and the Tipi Loschi (among others) as examples for all the Christian world to see. And it delights me that you can already see the light from these communities right now, amid the rubble.