Lush green fields have turned from faded to brown thanks to a Summer drought in Norcia that has left the monks without water once again — though for entirely different reasons than this past Winter! It seems the earthquake deviated centuries-old underground wells of water. Our souls have nevertheless been cheered by unexpected blessings.
The chapel at San Benedetto in Monte, which gradually fills with adornments for God, is now open for Terce and Mass every day at 10:00, offering family, friends and first-time pilgrims a window into the monks’ life of prayer. Jugglers from Pennsylvania, roofers from Rimini, and firefighters from New Zealand have been among our recent guests.
While the formal inauguration of the new building will not take place until September 17th, it will already be needed for one of the most important events in the life of the community: the solemn vows of one of our monks on July 16th.
After five years of formation and simple profession, Father Martin Bernhard, who comes originally from Fredericksburg, Texas will make his final consecration to God, be clothed in the cowl and covered by the funeral pall during the dramatic “mystical burial.” A recovered bell from the old monastery will be rung to mark the beginning of his new life. Family from Texas and friends from Norcia and across Italy will join us for this historic moment, the first solemn vows at San Benedetto in Monte since the earthquake.
Religious profession, like the monks’ whole life, is a sign of contradiction. We work, build, and try to become saints in this life, but our whole existence has one goal, one meaning: the life to come. Now more than ever, our life looks toward heaven, as so much that we knew before the earthquake has passed away and what is to come is sought by faith and love. Fr. Martin’s Solemn Profession in this context will be both an inspiration to his fellow monks and a witness to his and our belief that God is worth living for and worth dying for. Please keep him and all the monks in your prayers this July 16.
To help the monks in our effort to rebuild monastic life in Norcia, please consider a gift towards our next project — the new brewery — or a purchase of Birra Nursia from our recently updated website (http://birranursia.com) . Know of our gratitude for all you do already and our prayers for your needs.
Prior Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.