On the Feast of St. Scholastica on the 10th of February, locals have always been able to tell if Spring is coming, or if Winter will persist. If sparrows are chirping near the roof, Spring will come soon. So says the received wisdom.
We hope Spring does come soon. This has been the coldest and snowiest winter in Norcia for at least 16 years. Our pipes froze shortly after Epiphany and have remained frozen for about 10 days. Without running water, we’ve had to be a bit like pioneer-monks. You can guess what kind of adventures through the woods we had to undertake without running water at the monastery! On top of that, a pack of wolves mysteriously started making nightly visits — we think for prayer! By the sound of their howls we guessed they were not more than 50 yards away.