A vision of Norcia restored…


Dear friends,

By the evening of the 5th, First Vespers of the Epiphany, 6 inches of snow had fallen at San Benedetto in Monte. This fluffy white coating, in the matter of a few hours, did what would have taken us years to accomplish: all the ruins of rocks, metal, wood and rubble in our own monastery and throughout the valley were suddenly restored, cleaned and purified. One had a glimpse of the future, of a Norcia brought back to its original splendor. No destruction in site, just a white covering and a sense that God will bring all this to a good end just as brought the long arduous journey of the Magi to the place of Majesty.

Epiphany water was blessed, solemn Mass offered and after a solemn rest, a not-so-solemn snowball fight followed in the mountains for the monks. Turns out some of our least expected monks (one from England, one from Louisiana) have the best throwing arms and could reach monks with a tightly packed ball of powder 75 yards away! But these festivities were all proceeded by a yet greater sign of hope: our first novice who arrived in Norcia after the earthquake was clothed. After ritually washing his feet, I bestowed upon him the monastic habit and Rule. We all watched with joy, realizing that just as God called men to join St. Benedict amid the rubble of the Roman Empire and Nero’s villa, so too he calls men today despite the physical earthquake of 2016 and the spiritual earthquake which is still rocking our times.

We hope this has been a joyful Christmas season for all of you. To those who have sent donations of clothing, food or financial assistance, we assure you that all of it has been put to good use and is deeply appreciated. One of our novices helped me prepare thank you notes for many of you during the Christmas holiday — at least those of you who donated from August through November. But, alas, our stationary was lost in the earthquake and we could only get one (not always cooperative!) printer out of the old buildings. For those who have yet to receive them please know of our gratitude and our hopes to get back to a normal schedule of correspondence during this new year.

With the prayers of the monks,
Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.

Note: If you want to help the rebuilding process, you can give to the monks by clicking here.